My wife was pregnant at the time of my accident and I was determined to be by her side for the birth. I was one of the earliest releases ever from the spinal unit and I was able to wheel myself into the birthing room and welcome our daughter, Rosalie, into the world. The safe delivery was wonderful but we had a problem to overcome: where to live while our flat was adapted? That is where Aspire’s Housing Scheme came in. The Aspire house we lived in was in Edgware, North London, and had originally been converted for the charity by Anneka Rice as part of one of her television programmes.

Of course I’m interested in research into ‘the cure’, but realise it’s unlikely I’ll benefit from any results as my lesion is 95 per cent complete. From what I understand, any possible cures in the foreseeable future will be more likely to benefit those with incomplete spinal cord injuries. Another important area of research is around the psychology of how to make the best of your situation and also, as the years go by, around the ageing issues wheelchair users will have to face. If you focus on what may happen, you can lose focus on living in the ‘now’.

Find a way to do it and then decide if it's worth doing

Tim working in his art studio

I wrote a book, Looking Up, and also wrote a regular column for the Times newspaper, both of which helped me to come to terms with my spinal cord injury. I had been a highly active, six foot tall, outdoors character and wanted to convey an accurate account of the overwhelming feelings of anger and despair, of how I have rebuilt my life and how my work as an artist is developing and another chapter in my life is opening.

I’ve used callipers but I’m tall and if I fall I could do more damage and perhaps be unable to push my wheelchair. You only have to visit the seaside and try pushing a chair on sand to realise how incredibly efficient human beings are walking the way they do.

I do miss the physical life I enjoyed before my spinal cord injury, but I still play sport frequently, especially tennis. And I still get into the great outdoors with my family whenever possible. I guess my attitude is best summed up as: “Find a way to do it and then decide if it's worth doing.”

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