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HERTS RIDE: Garston firefighter returns to cycling following life-changing injuries

 Published on: 4th July 2024   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Garston firefighter who was left paralysed after being struck by a van joined his colleagues on a cycle around Hertfordshire using his new hand bike.

Liam Coffill, 25, was cycling to work at Garston Fire Station on the morning of August 18, 2023, when he was hit by a van on the intersection between the A41 and A405.

He was airlifted to St Mary’s Hospital in London where he underwent a six-hour operation. His family and friends subsequently launched a GoFundMe page to support him in his recovery. Within 24 hours, more than £10,000 had been raised. This has now reached a total of £33,844.

The incident caused the severance of his spinal cord, meaning that Liam is now paralysed from the waist down. Prior to his injury, he regularly cycled more than 50 miles with the Watford Velo Sport Club and completed the epic challenge of an Iron Man. He said that life since August has been “challenging”, but he remains positive.

He told GARSTONnews: “I now have an adapted car so I’m back to driving. I’m back working in a different role at the station and I’m now doing hand cycling, wheelchair racing and building my strength back up at the gym.

“Just because this happened, it doesn’t mean I can’t do things. There are still so many opportunities – the world is still my oyster! Physical limitation doesn’t have to mean life limitation.

“It’s been a really challenging time, but I’ve worked hard at keeping my morale high and staying determined. It’s about taking steps in the right direction.”

Liam underwent rehabilitation at Hillingdon Hospital and at STEPS, a specialist facility in Sheffield. He says he “cannot fault” the care he has received and is grateful to his friends, family and colleagues who have rallied to support him.

On Sunday, June 30, Liam joined his colleagues for a stretch of a 180-mile cycle ride to raise funds for The Fire Fighters Charity. The charity supports serving and retired members of the UK fire services and has been vital in Liam’s rehabilitation journey.

Kicking off at 5am, the cyclists clocked up 20 hours on a tour of all 29 Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service stations. So far, the challenge has raised nearly £4,700.

Liam took part in the cycle ride before his injury, and hopes that in the future he will be able to complete the whole challenge.

He said: “It was my first time back cycling on open roads, so it was a big step. It was really nice to do that with people I know – we all looked out for each other.

“The ride was amazing and went very well. It was nice to get back out with fellow firefighters on the roads and raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Everyone did great and put in loads of effort. We look forward to next year’s ride!”

To donate to the Ride Around Herts fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/page/rah2024

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