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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 12:21 GMT
Amputee returns to firefighting
Simon Hawkins
The artificial leg has helped Simon Hawkins return to firefighting
A Worcestershire man has become the first firefighter in the UK to work with a false leg.

Simon Hawkins, from Bromsgrove, lost his lower left leg in a motorbike accident in 2005.

He has been allowed back to work after a series of gruelling tests and what he calls "incredible" support.

"When it first happened, within a matter of two months, nearly 20,000 was raised for me to buy state-of-the-art prosthesis," he said.

Mr Hawkins added: "I really couldn't have done this without my work colleagues, my friends, my family, and especially without my partner.

"I know physically that my leg's capable of doing anything.

If anybody was ever going to do it, it was Simon
Paul Hayden, Chief Fire Officer

"It's whether I can adapt my physical style to using my leg. But it's bought and paid for and it does the job perfectly."

Mr Hawkins is the first active firefighter in the UK to work with such a disability.

Paul Hayden, Hereford & Worcester Fire Service's Chief Fire Officer, said: "The one thing I can't do is put him at risk. It's a case of not letting him do things too quickly and it all go wrong.

"But if you do it properly, I was always convinced he had every chance.

"If anybody was ever going to do it, it was Simon. And I'm chuffed that he has."

His story will feature on Inside Out on BBC One West Midlands on Monday from 1930 GMT.

See Simon's amazing story.
BBC Local TV Hereford and Worcester


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