Double amputee who feared he would never walk again set for sailing adventure


A man who once feared he would never walk again after having both legs amputated is hoping to undertake a sailing trip from the Falklands Islands to South Africa after he was helped to rebuild his life by a disability charity.

Paul Johnson, 24, lost both of his legs in November 2014 when he was hit by an electric shock as he crossed a railway line in Glasgow.

“I don’t remember much from then but what I do remember is waking up about two hours later with my legs on fire,” he said of the accident.

“I had to roll over, put the fire out and drag myself over to grab my bag and phone myself an ambulance.”

Mr Johnson spent months in intensive care and burns wards at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and struggled to adapt to life with his disability.

But he was helped by Finding Your Feet charity, which supports amputees.

The charity was founded by Corinne Hutton after she suffered acute pneumonia and septicaemia in 2013, meaning surgeons had to amputate both her hands and legs below the knee.

Since it began working with Mr Johnson he has passed his driving test, started playing guitar again and taken part in cooking and gardening classes.

“I wasn’t able to get out my shell a lot in the first couple of years but they really helped me bring myself out and started getting back out in the world,” he said.

Now he is preparing to undertake a sea voyage – and hopes that he can replay some of the charity’s kindness with a fundraising drive.

Mr Johnson is now preparing to travel to Gran Canaria in January for a week-long trip at sea with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

He is also aiming to qualify for a 40-day voyage from the Falklands Islands to South Africa in April 2018.

“The ship has been completely adapted for people with disabilities, so we’re able to do the sails, helm the ship, scrub the deck, work in the galley – basically it’s a working holiday, a working adventure,” he said.

“I couldn’t have imagined I’d be doing something like this. I just wanted to walk never mind set sail on a boat so this is going to be absolutely incredible.”

With his place on the ship secured, Mr Johnson is hoping to raise around £15,000 for Finding Your Feet during his trip in recognition of the charity’s support.

Ms Hutton said: “Paul has been through so much, so when we had the chance to offer him something that would change his life for the better it was a no brainer.

“He has gone from being housebound in his wheelchair to walking on his prosthetics, and I can’t believe we’ll be seeing him at sea soon. I know he’ll do great.

“This kind of thing is what the charity is all about, and we hope Paul’s story will encourage others to challenge themselves.”


World News


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