A FATHER of three who had his leg amputated has said he is determined to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Nigel Wilmott, 54, of Fraser Road in Kings Worthy near Winchester, made the decision to have his leg amputated just below the knee in December 2012 after a persistent infection.
But that isn’t going to stop him from having his daughter on his arm on her big day.
And the diabetes sufferer also wants to make sure that he can help other people through his own experience.
Nigel has set up an amputee support group with his wife, Karen, 55, called ‘Best Foot Forward’.
It will open in May, with hopes of helping other people in a similar situation, as well as their carers and friends, along with those considering amputation.
“Fifteen months ago I had my leg amputated and a very close friend of mine had his done 63 years ago,” he explains.
“He has been such a great help to me answering questions, even just silly little things that doctors and nurses wouldn’t know the answer to because they haven’t been in that situation.
“At the end of the day what I am now is me isn’t it? I have a prosthesis and now that is my leg. I could have sat about and said ‘woe is me’ or got up and got on with it and try to live as normal a life as possible, which I am trying to do. Not all people are in their mid-50s when it happens to them and I just want to put it out there to people that it’s not the end of your life, it’s the start of a new one, and with good friends and family it is OK, it really is!”
After working for a small engineering company making prosthetic legs as an apprentice almost 30 years ago, Nigel said he felt he had an advantage over other amputees.
“It sort of helped me to make the decision when the consultant suggested it might be a good idea,”he says.
“I had an advantage at that stage because working there gave me an understanding about it.”
The former boiler engineer is father to 17-year-old Chloe, Ashley, 21, and Hayley, 24, who lives with her fiancé in Eastleigh and is due to marry in August this year.
“She gets married this year and I will walk her down the aisle,” Nigel states with determination.
In the meantime, the Best Foot Forward support group starts on May 19 from 6pm until 7.30pm at Tubbs Hall on Fraser Road.
“At the moment we are just giving it a go and we don’t know what will happen as such,” says Nigel.
Nigel with his wife Karen and children Hayley, Ashley and Chloe (l-r)
“Hopefully we will get more and more people come along.”
There will be a raffle on the night to support funding for future events, and this month Waitrose in Winchester will have a green token box dedicated to the group.
For further information, call 07462 197 058.