Two days after the motorbike accident I woke up with my girlfriend holding my hand and telling me I had to fight as she was pregnant. I left the Spinal Centre just in time to be there for the birth of our daughter, Lilly-Ann.

Times were difficult at first, but when my wife returned to work as a primary-school teacher we decided that I would stay at home and look after Lilly-Ann. It was daunting, but she was what had kept me going for the past year, and I was definitely up for the challenge. I might not have as much time for the gym as before, what with Lilly-Ann and the school pickups coming before anything else, but it’s all good.

I've been told that I'm a bit of a Victor Meldrew

Before the accident I had been in the garage trade for 15 years, but I found it difficult to go back to it. Instead, I decided to retrain as a web designer and go to university – it was all really different as, even now, I’m still not used to sitting about in one place for too long. The old skills aren’t completely lost, though, and my newest project is to build a trike, based on a VW Beetle. There’s nothing like the wind in your face and bugs in your teeth to make it all worthwhile! I have a good friend who is also in a wheelchair and into his trikes so, when it’s done, we’re planning on travelling around the UK together and visiting the various Spinal Centres.

Man in wheelchair in a disabled parking bay

I’ve been told that I’m a bit of a ‘Victor Meldrew’ character. I have built and designed a website, that allows people who get fed up with non-disabled people abusing disabled parking bays to name and shame the culprits. I’ve heard all sorts of excuses from perpetrators at the local supermarket and shops, and had some abuse for challenging those who shouldn’t be using the bays. It’s just one of the irritating issues anyone with a disability experiences every day and you get used to it. You don’t have to like it, though, and the website is my way of dealing with it.

My physio and I are currently embarking on a new challenge to see if I can use back-slabs and, hopefully, move on to callipers. It might not be enough to walk properly, but I would be able to stand and sit at the cinema or restaurants with my wife and daughter and mates like anyone else. That would mean the world to me.