Injured firefighter Ian has work goal

Fighting back: Firefighter Ian Whiting is planning his return to work
Fighting back: Firefighter Ian Whiting is planning his return to work

A Chorley firefighter who lost his leg in a train accident is planning to return to the work for the first time.

Ian Whiting, 37, from Euxton, was coming home from a football match with colleagues in February last year when his life changed forever.

The dad-of-two was getting off the train at Chorley station.

The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital two days later with injuries to his left leg that were so bad it had to be amputated.

Ian explained: “I still don’t know exactly what happened – all I know is that a man on the other side of the platform saw my train drive off, and then I was on the tracks.

“Someone tried to help me off the line, which I vaguely remember, and the woman working in the ticket office made sure the next train didn’t come in to the station.”

He was left in a coma at the Royal Preston Hospital, and, as well as having his left leg amputated at the knee, he lost the toes on his right foot, and spent nine weeks in hospital enduring skin graft operations.

“It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said.

“I could have quite easily died.”

His wife Colette, son Jack, 11, and daughter Gemma, 14, initially feared he’d sustained head injuries.

What Ian didn’t know was that while he was in hospital, workmates from the White Watch at Preston were finishing off a building project at his house, which he’d been in the middle of before the incident.

Firefighters Craig Singleton, Steve Walton and James Butcher were the driving force behind the gesture.

“There were about 20 guys in total,” he said.

“I’ve thanked them loads of times, but they’ll never know how grateful I am. I was completely blown away.”

Ian, who has been a firefighter for 15 years, is now desperate to get back to saving other people’s lives, and is planning to go back to work in the next couple of months.

“I’ll have to do admin work at first,” he said.

“But it’ll be great to be back in that environment. I miss it so much.”

He added: “It’ll be difficult for me to sit still when the lads get called out to an incident, but my main aim is to eventually get back to being a firefighter.”

Ian relies on a wheelchair most of the time, but got a prosthetic leg on Christmas Eve, which he uses with crutches.

He’s also been driving a car in the past three weeks, which he says has really boosted his morale.

He said: “It’s been a year since the accident and it has been such a hard year.

“When I look back, I do wish it had never happened, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and it’s made me appreciate everything much more.

“You take things like walking for granted, and I miss cycling and going to gigs.

“But I’ll be walking properly again at some stage, and I’m looking forward to that.”

Bob Warren, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s director of people and development, said: “The tenacity and courage that Ian has shown during his rehabilitation following a traumatic accident is phenomenal and wholly commendable.

“Ian’s family and friends are to be applauded for their unceasing support, together with his White Watch colleagues and the Fire Fighters’ Charity.”