Crash survivor wins award and gets back on his bike

Kevin Skeith, from Sleaford, winner of the UK Worker of the Year award
Kevin Skeith, from Sleaford, winner of the UK Worker of the Year award

A carpet fitter who survived a serious motorcycle crash has overcome the odds to ride again and win the UK’s Worker of the Year award.

Kevin Skeith, 39, from Sleaford, was told at one point he may never use his legs or arms again after the accident.

But following intensive physiotherapy and surgery he returned to work after just nine months - despite being told it would be at least 18 months before he was able to work again.

The accident happened on October 17, 2010, when he was coming back from a day out and riding back towards Sleaford.

He came off his bike and hit the road, suffering punctured lungs, a torn heart valve and four broken and fractured vertebrae in his back.

He said: “I ended up with two 25cm titanium rods and eight bolts and had to learn to use all my shoulder muscles again.”

While he had to adapt in his job, he managed to return to running his business Kevin Skeith Flooring Specialist with the support of other fitters who helped with the physical side of the job and lifting work.

He said: “I couldn’t work the way I used to, but had to find a way to reduce my workload while still keeping up my income.”

His story, backed by glowing testimonials from clients and customers, wowed judges in the final of the Worker of the Year awards held at Brands Hatch.

The awards were organised by workwear firm Dickies and tied in with the British Superbike final weekend of the season.

As well as scooping the trophy, he also chose a brand new Honda Crosstour motorbike as his prize.

He has always been a big motorcycle racing fan and while he said the accident at first knocked his confidence, he now can’t wait to get on his new bike.

He said: “I was down on myself after the accident and I took a refresher course to build back my confidence.

“I’ve taken a few bikes out for test drives but until now I haven’t been able to afford a new bike.

“After the accident we ended up in financial debt as I couldn’t work for a while and it took us until last year to get out of it.”

“It has been very hard and I cried during my speech at the awards.

“I think I hadn’t realised how much the accident had taken out of me and when I won the award I got quite emotional.

“It is a big achievement for me but it is one of those things that I owe a lot to the people around me. They have all supported me through this.

“The best thing that has ever happened to me is getting married to my wife Anna and having my children (Hayden aged three and Reuben aged one) - and then bikes. Anna has always loved bikes too and while she hasn’t ridden since I had my accident she is ‘reluctantly happy’ for me to get back on the bike.

“Life is too short to stop doing what you love. Life is for living. It was phenomenal to win the award and I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me.”