FATHER-of-three Ian Roscoe feared he would never walk again after breaking his neck in a mountain bike accident.
It left him confined to a hospital bed with tetraplegia, unable to move his arms and legs.
But after months of hard work, he managed to take his first steps and he can now spend half an hour a day on an exercise bike.
His ultimate ambition is to one day ride a bike once more.
In April, 2012, the former kitchen fitter was enjoying a day out riding with friends in Grizedale Forest, in the Lake District, when his life changed forever.
Mr Roscoe, who lives in Belmont, said: “We had done a three-hour ride and it was literally on the last 200 metres before the end. I went over the handle bars and broke my neck.
“It was even a flat bit of the ride, I’d done all the technical stuff, the hard stuff and was just thinking about my pie and chips at lunch.
“As I hit the floor, I felt my head had become detached from my body and I could see my arms flapping around and I couldn’t feel them “I rolled down the hill and couldn’t move anything at all.”
He was taken by air ambulance to Furness General Hospital in Barrow before being transferred to Royal Preston Hospital, to begin his long road to recovery.
Mr Roscoe, who grew up in Harwood, said: “I realised quite early on it was something serious.
Your whole life flashes through and you think, is this it?”
He had broken his neck and damaged his spinal cord and spent a total of eight months in hospital, including six months in the spinal unit at Southport Hospital.
The former Canon Slade School pupil said: “It was only when I got there, I really started to go through the long, slow process of recovery.
“I had no movement in my arms and legs. I could just about use one finger to use my touch phone screen.”
Months of repetitive and, at times, mundane rehabilitation followed before Mr Roscoe took his first step, in September, five months after the accident.
The 40-year-old said: “The first time I came home was my daughter’s birthday. I could just about get up but I was still wheelchair bound.
“I’ve still got a wheelchair but I try not to use it.
“I always have one stick.
One of the goals is to be able to get off both of the sticks.”
Mr Roscoe, who had been mountain biking for about 10 years when the accident happened, said: “Having three small children you think you’ve got to be there for them. I’ve got great friends, they are all encouraging me, especially when I go out round Belmont Village.
“Another thing that keeps me going is that one in 40 people walk out of Southport spinal unit.
“I was that one, I have so many friends who are still in wheelchairs who will always be in wheelchairs.
I’m still in touch with some of the guys I was in Southport with.
“I’ve just got to get up and push my way through. You are constantly battling with it as some days you are thinking, what’s the point?
“The physios are so passionate about what they can do for you, the expertise and the help I’ve been given has been amazing.”
Mr Roscoe goes for physio three times a week at Breightmet Health Centre.
Speaking of how much movement and feeling different people will get back after similar accidents, he said: “It’s an unknown. No one will ever have an answer to what you will get as every single condition is different.
“I’ve had arthritis since I was 20 and because of that period of inability, lying in bed for months, the arthritis got hold.”
When Mr Roscoe was in Southport spinal unit, there were four other people suffering injuries following mountain bike accidents and two complete tetraplegics, which means their spinal cords had totally severed.
He said: “I was given this information, you’re incomplete, you’re not a complete break. That day, it was like, right — I am going to walk again.
“The past six months, my life has been a bit like Groundhog Day. But you are just grateful to have the opportunity to walk.”
Before the accident Mr Roscoe worked as a kitchen fitter and now he hopes to continue working as a kitchen designer, as well as helping disabled people adapt their homes.
He said: “Until you live with the actual illness, you can’t quite understand it.
“I fill my day mostly by trying to do meals for the family. I just can’t open jars and I can’t pick something up if I drop it.
“If I fall over, I can’t get up from the floor. That’s one of my goals. I managed to get out in the snow but not being able to go sledging. I’m dependent on other people because I’m not driving at the moment.
“I’ve tried putting timeframes down but if you don’t reach them, you get more depressed after that so it’s a case of marginal gains.
“It would be great to be able to ride a bike again, even though it’s done this to me. Although I perhaps wouldn’t go as fast.”