Alan (pictured second from the left), with his wife and sons.
Alan suffered life-threatening injuries after being hit head-on whilst stationary on the A4 Rowden Hill in Chippenham as he was returning home.
The accident scene was witnessed by Alan’s wife and two young sons as they went looking for Alan having become concerned at his non-arrival. Alan’s wife was instructed to go direct to the hospital while Alan’s sons, aged four and seven at the time of the accident in June 2001, were taken by the police to a friend.
Alan, who at the time was 40 and living in Chippenham, was cut free by firefighters from his wrecked car. He was treated at the scene by Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedic Richard Miller before being airlifted to the Royal United Hospital, Bath.
Alan’s right forearm and pelvis suffered multiple breaks while his right leg, jaw and teeth were also broken. He suffered extensive bleeding as a result of the damage to his pelvis. On arrival at hospital Alan required ten pints of blood provided via transfusions, was operated on and subsequently placed in intensive care.
Alan said: “The doctors didn’t know if I was going to live. If I did survive they didn’t know if they would be able to save my arm, due to the seriousness of my injuries.”
His recovery was physically and emotionally gruelling. Following a further operation in hospital and a month in hospital, Alan underwent ten months of intensive physiotherapy at Chippenham Hospital.
A friend’s son made him a special shoe, which enabled him to gradually increase load bearing on his pelvis and right leg consistent with the consultant’s guidance.
After six months he was able to return to work as a chartered engineer at a power company in Swindon.
A few months after this Alan, accompanied by his wife and sons, visited Wiltshire Air Ambulance at its base at police headquarters, Devizes, to thank paramedic Richard Miller and to make a donation which was matched by his employer.
Alan said: “Meeting Richard was emotional. As a family we wanted to give something back to Wiltshire Air Ambulance as there is no doubt it played a massive part in saving my life.”
Alan’s arm and pelvis to this day are fixed in place by a total of three metal plates and 21 screws and while he can no longer jog, for example, he keeps fit by walking and swimming.
He said: “I can’t fully rotate my arm but my recovery has been nothing short of brilliant. I have admiration for everyone who helped me, from Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the police, to the RUH staff and the physiotherapists at Chippenham Hospital.”
After taking early retirement from his job in 2019, Alan, who now lives near Marlborough, became a volunteer with Wiltshire Air Ambulance and gives talks about the charity to community groups and organisations.
“I’m doing something practical to help this great charity by raising awareness and I can talk about my real life experience of how it saved my life and the impact on my family,” he said.Back to life stories