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Steve Hopwood TBC Conversions

It’s often the biggest challenges in life that bring out the very best in us, and in Steve Hopwood’s case, his challenge was monumental. In 1986, at the age of just 28, Steve lost his right leg and arm in a road traffic accident. Today he recounts his journey for us. From the moment he overheard a paramedic say the unthinkable, to his newfound zest for life and work.

The accident that changed a life

Even today, when discussing the accident that changed his life, you can tell the memory is still very fresh in Steve’s mind. Something he says he has fought very hard to come to terms with over the years.

He can clearly recount the accident as if it were yesterday, remembering in detail being thrown from his bike, off the road and down a grassy bank hidden from view. It’s lying here that Steve remembers hearing perhaps the most chilling statement anyone could hear under the circumstances.

“I’ll go find the body”

The attending paramedics had focused on freeing the other injured people from the crash site, assuming from the extent of the wreckage that Steve had simply not survived. Despite the horrific injuries Steve had sustained, the awful recollection of the paramedics prophetic statement and losing 13 pints of blood, Steve pulled through. When he woke in hospital he realised that his right arm above his elbow was gone, and his right leg was held together by pins only to be amputated later.

It was acceptable in the 80s

Today, after sustaining such life-changing injuries, health care professionals would begin an extensive course of counselling to help individuals come to terms with their trauma, as well as initiate a continued mental health assessment programme and administer ongoing supportive care.

In the 80s however, things were a little different (and not just the fashions). Not that Steve has a bad word to say about the care he was given by the “pyramid of people who wired to save his life”, but it was clear to him that he was expected to look on the bright side and accept his new way of life.

For Steve the struggle was real. He had enjoyed his independence and was looking forward to developing his career. But, there was one passion in particular which seemed like an impossibility, this was independent driving.

Steve’s passion for cars started when he was just a youngster and, like any young man, he enjoyed driving fast cars, dreaming one day of owning the sleek and shiny sports car of the moment.

In the 80s, wheelchair accessible cars were available, but they were built and designed mainly for stroke survivors. Of course, this suited Steve’s needs, as he’d lost the use of the entire right side of his body. But the cars and controls themselves were a far cry from the sophisticated technologies we can provide today.

From the discovery that he could get behind the wheel again, there was a light at the end of the tunnel and Steve set to work to develop his own bespoke hand controls with a local company. Finally, the day came when he was able to get back on the road.

“I needed help with everyday things like cooking my meals and getting into the bath, but driving is something I could do again, independent of anyone else”

A man and his motors

Driving remains Steve’s strongest passion, beyond his wife and family, and today he has developed his own company delivering cars for a living.

Swift and Sure came about when Steve noticed a gap in the market for safe, secure and reliable same-day vehicle delivery. Ploughing his money from the Access to Work Scheme Steve set up shop providing a service that covers everything from transporting road traffic accident vehicles and race cars to luxury high-end classic cars, and even mobility scooters.

Most recently an exclusive sports car dealer ​was recommended to Steve by a previous client, his services were deemed nothing short of excellent. Check out testimonials from Steve’s satisfied clientele.

The success of Steve’s “accidental entrepreneurship” as he likes to refer to it, can be attributed to his determination and grit, something which he says has encouraged him to do things he never would have dreamed of as an able-bodied person.

“My injuries haven’t disabled me they have enabled me, pushing me to do more”.

Today Steve has achieved his dreams of driving some of the most amazing sports cars, race cars and luxury vehicles, and he has even added a sports car of his own to his collection, a 1998 Porsche 996.

When Steve found his Mercedes Motability Sprinter

One of the things that Steve still struggled with was totally independent driving.

If for example, Steve was without his prosthetics on a road journey, he would find it nigh on impossible to get out of his car and to the rear storage to unload his wheelchair. He also found that even with his prosthetics on driving the BMW X1 he had prior to his Mercedes Motability Sprinter, would be uncomfortable.

So, working with Motability experts, Steve was able to spec his own requirements in a vehicle that he could use alone. The easy to use rear electric lift, head height and internal transfer space of the WAV Mercedes Sprinter, gave Steve the independence he craved. With the conspicuous and stylish looks of the Mercedes Motability Sprinter, space for a wheelchair and enough comfortable seating for Steve, his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children Steve has now found his ideal everyday car.

“comfort levels come second only to accessibility then, of course, its style. No one wants to advertise they are driving a WAV, do they?”

After Motability and TBC Conversions developed and delivered Steve’s WAV, an expert team member from TBC Conversions, paid a visit to Steve’s home. Our specialist handovers are integral to the core values at TBC and ensure that every function of a clients new vehicle is as it should be.

A renewed value for life

Steve’s success in business is further mirrored by his triumphs in life and he now uses his experiences to help others wherever he can. What’s more, Steve believes his injuries have “made him a success rather than a statistic”.

His lack of limbs has enabled him to serve as an extra on the set of films such as war epic Fury, starring Brad Pitt, as well as allowing him to assist in military training exercises for medical personnel.

Here's Steve on set during filming and casualty simulation training ⏩

His work in schools and inclusive entrepreneur programmes gives young children and businesses a glimpse into his real-life struggles and encourages acceptance and inclusion.

It’s with this renewed value for life that various doors opened and new challenges presented themselves. Steve was fortunate to win a 6-week scholarship which took him to 43 Air School, Port Alfred South Africa where he learned to fly a plane, he’s also taken on skiing, sailing and scuba diving.

Today, Steve feels he is part of a pyramid of people who, from that first paramedic down to the nurses, doctors and specialists have helped him become the person he is today.

“they helped him and now he helps them”.

It was a real pleasure hearing Steve’s inspiring story, and a joy to learn how he has and will go on to help and inspire others. We hope you too have found Steve’s story inspiring.

You can follow our latest developments and learn more about other customer experiences that TBC Conversions have had the pleasure of being part of our news and social feeds:

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Or to start your own journey to driving independence get in touch with one of our Motability Experts who will be happy to help you select your future WAV.