Press! Birmingham Mail

Press! Birmingham Mail

Article from the Birmingham Mail on Monday 23rd September 2013:

Midland grandad tells how the Royal Wedding cost him his leg

A Midland grandad has told how the Royal Wedding cost him his leg.

Caretaker Paul Felton crushed his left ankle when he fell from a ladder as he put up bunting for a party at a community centre the week before Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011.

When it failed to heal after almost two years of treatment, the 55-year-old took the tough decision to have part of the limb amputated.

Now Paul has formed a support group to help others in a similar situation.

“It all happened so quickly,” he recalled. “I’m not sure how I lost my balance on the ladder, but suddenly I had been thrown into the middle of the road.

“I was rushed to hospital, and I remember the paramedic telling me: ‘Don’t worry, it’s just your leg, it can be repaired’.”
X-rays revealed Paul, from Willenhall, had suffered a crushed left ankle and multiple fractures.

He underwent months of intensive physiotherapy but his bones were not healing properly and he suffered months of infections that caused him agonising pain.

Eventually came the suggestion that Paul had long feared – medics advised him to consider amputation.

“I wasn’t shocked by that point,” he said. “I had lost feeling in it and it was clearly getting worse.”
“I felt a huge range of emotions and worried how it might affect my life and my family.”
“Afterwards I went onto the internet to try to find people to talk to who had been through the same thing, but I was shocked I couldn’t find anyone in the area to help.”
“I knew there must be other people desperate to talk to someone so I decided to set up my own support group.”
“Talking to someone who has been through it is the best medicine.”

Paul had a prosthetic leg made for him by The Maltings Mobility Centre in Wolverhampton – which appropriately features a Union flag.

“It’s early days but I got the hang of it really quickly and I am walking again,” he said.
“These past two years have been such a struggle. I want something positive to focus on now.”

Paul has set up the West Midlands Amputee Support Group to offer help and advice. His accident happened at a community centre near his home on April 19, 2011 – ten days before the wedding. Law firm Irwin Mitchell is now working to secure a payout from his workplace’s insurers to cover his rehabilitation and future care costs. Irwin Mitchell said Paul’s employer had admitted liability over the incident.

Maria Littley, an injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “Paul has shown tremendous bravery and determination to recover so quickly. He has used what happened to him as an opportunity to help others.”