A carpet fitter who has battled back from a life threatening motorcycle crash is in the final of the UK’s Worker of the Year awards.
Motorcycle racing fan Kevin Skeith, 39, of Sleaford is still pinching himself on making it through to the final of the competition with the winner to be announced at Brands Hatch during the British Superbike final weekend of the season.
He found out he was in the final six last week and said: “My brain is still trying to process how far I have got.”
Self-employed Kevin has been in the carpet fitting industry for 18 years altogether, including three years in training under his step-father.
Kevin was called by wife Anna with news online he was in the final cut. But he said: “I couldn’t scream and shout because I was in a house measuring up for some flooring. I had to wait until I got back in the van and rang her back.”
He had seen the advert for the competition on the website for Dickies workwear, who sponsor the superbikes, and put his name down, just telling his story.
On October 17, 2010, Kevin had a major motorcycle accident, 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.
“I went through physio and they told me it would be 18 months to be back at work, but after nine months I felt I had no choice but to go back to earn money. Luckily the companies I work for teamed me up with other fitters as it can be quite physical with a lot of lifting.”
Kevin realised he had to adapt his job and 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.”
He got into supplying carpets and a lot of his work has come through recommendations on social media. The countless glowing testimonials from clients are also what has carried him through to the final six, who will travel to Brands Hatch on October 14-16 to hear who has won, as judged by the main sponsors of the awards.
He said: “I asked my customers and clients to go onto Facebook and leave a message regarding my quality of work and what kind of person I am.”
He said: “I am one of Sleaford’s tradesmen and we have some really good tradesmen in this area.
“I never expected to get this far. I just get up in the morning to keep a roof over our head and keep my customers happy.
“I really like carpet fitting and like meeting people and being in a different place every day.”