I started working for a lift company when I was 19, and within a few years was a fully qualified engineer. Having worked at various places, I started my own company which did really well. We were so busy that I had to stop working in the field and help run the business from the office.

My last day on the road saw me at a restaurant where the dumb waiter had broken. I was just starting to investigate the problem when it lost traction and pulled me down the shaft with it. I fell three floors.

I spent time in intensive care, and then many boring weeks on the spinal unit. When I asked to meet someone who had had their spinal injury for a while and could act as a mentor I was introduced to a chap injured in the process of burgling a house, not exactly the role model and motivation to return to work I was looking for!

The future was going to be different, but it was going to be OK

When I was eventually fit enough, a couple of nurses helped me into a huge NHS wheelchair. They meant well, but I was totally devastated and left wondering how on earth I was going to ever get around. Another chap stopped by and asked if I was OK; he was wheeling himself to his car at the time and, though it sounds strange now, I asked if I could watch him and see how he got himself and the chair into it. From that moment on I was away, I knew I could go wherever I wanted. The future was going to be different, but it was going to be OK.

Since my injury I’ve continued to build up my company, become an advanced scuba diver and flown an aeroplane. My wife Amanda and I have travelled the world together, always with a smile and an open mind. We’ve had some great times.

I never give up hope that one day I will walk again and I’ve been a guinea pig a few times with some experimental and painful, but sadly unsuccessful, operations in an attempt to repair my spinal cord.

My advice would be not to believe everything you hear on the ward. Oh, and don’t let anyone alter your house until you’ve tried living in it - I’ve got a lavatory I need a ladder to reach! Unfortunately, people will stare at you, especially when you’re getting in and out of a car. I usually tell them, “I do it a lot quicker in the rain!”