When John Thomas, then aged 79, was told he had a rare form of cancer in his foot, and would require a below the knee amputation no-one would have predicted that at 82 years old, with a prosthetic leg, he would proudly ride on one of his 13 restored vintage tractors as part of a 73-strong rally from Cwm, in Carmarthenshire to Pendine.
But that is exactly what he did with his friends at the Cwm Vintage Tractor Club to raise money for the Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre (ALAC) in Swansea.
The annual rally raised £2,650 for the Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre he credits with helping him to get his life back following his amputation.
John says, “We rode to Pendine on the back roads, I think it took about two and a half hours.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I bet the scene as we arrived was pretty impressive!”
Jonathan Pini, a Prosthetist at Morriston Hospital was invited to a Cwm Vintage Tractor Club meeting to receive their generous donation to ALAC.
He says, “It’s incredibly humbling that people are willing to offer us their support.”
“Everyone goes through the experience of losing a limb differently. Our aim is to provide amputees with a prosthesis to allow them to get on with as normal a life as possible.
“We do the best we can, but everyone is fighting for funds. John is such a great guy and we’re so grateful to him.”
The donation will be used towards a café area at the ALAC building, allowing space for people to come together to offer each other support.
It’s something Jonathon feels very strongly about.
“It’s so important that we have a space where people can just come together and share their experiences and support each other.
“People only see the physical side effects of an amputation, but it can have a psychological effect too.”
John views his fundraising efforts as a way of thanking the ALAC team for their work.
He says: “Jonathan and his team down there are fantastic. They were so good to me. It’s not just about getting used to the false leg. They made me laugh, and they do say laughter is the best medicine.
“Thanks to them I can still work on my tractors. I’d go bonkers if I couldn’t get out there and do something, instead of just sitting around.”
“They do amazing work, and I hope the donation can be of some help.”