Fire horror for reality TV star

Doncaster businessman, Robin Goforth, is 'lucky to be alive' after his digger caught fire as he was using it.
Doncaster businessman, Robin Goforth, is 'lucky to be alive' after his digger caught fire as he was using it.

A Doncaster TV star and self-made millionaire was rescued from a flaming digger mere moments before it ‘exploded’.

Robin Goforth is no stranger to a bit of drama after eventful appearances on reality television shows including Wife Swap and Britain’s Flashiest Families.

But a ‘massive explosion’ was the last thing the 66-year-old expected while he was digging a hole for a bonfire on his grounds at Hayfield Lodge Farm.

Robin, who owns Hayfield Fisheries and number of filling stations across the borough, had been digging for just a few minutes when the vehicle’s engine caught light under his seat.

Due to the noise from the engine and the fact the smoke was blowing away from his line of sight, Robin failed to notice the blaze and continued digging.

It was only when Robin’s employee, Ian Clapham – also known as ‘Whiskers’ – heroically jumped onto the moving fiery digger and pulled him out of it that he was alerted to the situation.

Robin said: “The first thing I saw was an arm grab me and Whiskers shouting, ‘You’re on fire, you’re on fire!’

“He pulled me off it, and it was only when we were a bit further away that I realised how bad it was.

“There was this massive, thick smoke going up so high in the air. It looked like something out of World War Two.

“And then there was a massive explosion as one of the fuel pipes burst. And then another one, and another one.

“We actually had to alert Robin Hood airport because the smoke had gone so high that it could have affected the pilots. When we phoned them they said, ‘We can see it, we thought something had exploded.’

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Robin’s wife, Noellie aged 49, says his accident could have had a very different outcome.

She said: “I went to see to the dogs, and sent Whiskers to go and put a load of leaves we had collected onto the bonfire.

“If I’d asked him to do it even five minutes later I don’t think Robin would be here today – the firefighters said he was extremely lucky.

“We heard this massive bang from the house and saw all this smoke.

“I always said I fell in love with Robin because of his digger, but he’s had so many near misses on it.

“Before this he almost drowned when he was digging the lakes and it flooded.

“I’m quite glad to see it go to be honest.”

A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed a crew from Doncaster station was sent to extinguish a blaze at the couple’s property at around 4.30pm last Wednesday, October 14.

Robin and Noellie are set to return to our screens next autumn for another series of Britain’s Flashiest Families, which they are due to start filming this January.

Robin said: “The production company that make the show are called Nine Lives, which is right for me after all of the times I’ve been lucky!”