After my accident I was very low. If someone had given me a pill, I would have taken it there and then. If I had, I would never have travelled the world, had my wonderful children, met the Queen, visited Downing Street and had Eamonn Andrews present me with a This is your Life book. And I would never have won a Paralympic gold medal for Great Britain in discus throwing - a world record of 32 metres and 82 centimetres.

When I was 18, I fell 40 feet onto a wall from the big wheel at a fairground in Minehead. To begin with, when I was leaving the unit, I thought I’d be an international playboy. I had always had this idea about myself that I was invincible, some sort of Superman. The local job centre had other ideas. They actually came round to my house to make sure I got out of bed and out of doors, and they tried very hard to find a vocation for me. But in Wales, back then, it was just the steel works, the coal mines or driving a coal lorry.

I thought I'd be an international playboy

 Man in wheelchair throwing the discus

It wasn’t easy and for the first three years I just went down to the pub and drank, smoked and went home and slept. My dad had died when I was young so my mum was my life. One day, she said: “You’ve got to start changing. One day you won’t have any friends and I will have gone and you’ll be all on your own.” That scared me, and then I met a chap in the pub who suggested I should go with him down to my local sports centre. Six weeks later, I was ready to join a body-building club. After that, it was like a domino effect, with one thing following another; I took part in a multi-sport competition and won everything I entered, then joined a club that did field events. Soon I was taking part in the internationals.

I have a smashing family and love spending time with my kids. For some reason I have always got on well with young people, there is something about a wheelchair that interests them. Very young kids can talk to you easily; after all, you’re not very high up. I think you’ve just got to accept what you’ve got and don’t look to walking up the street. Get to like yourself as you are. Be positive, dream your dreams and give people a smile as you go along. Forty-five years on, I’m still dreaming but I wouldn’t change my life, not one bit of it.