Flintshire dad who overcame depression through biking after losing limb proud as children compete in GB BMX championships

Reporter:

David Humphreys

Watching his children progress in a sport he took up has helped an amputee “overcome the adversity” of losing his limb.

When Neal Gibson, 40, lost his left leg after a horrific accident at work, he turned to BMX biking to fight his way out of depression.

Mr Gibson, from Penymynydd, is now beaming with pride as two of his children prepare to compete in the British BMX Championships
after taking up the sport with their dad less than a year ago.

Spencer Gibson, 13, and sister Imogen, 11, will represent North Wales and the North of England this weekend and dad Neal
said he didn’t expect something so positive to come from his tragic accident.

“I definitely didn’t at all. It has been a pleasant surprise,” he said.

“It has helped me overcome the adversity and cushion the blow.

“We train together five or six nights a week and compete most weekends.”

Neal’s life was changed forever when in 2014 he became trapped in a concrete pumping machine while working on Colwyn Bay promenade.

After almost two years of recovery and enduring complications with attempts to reconstruct
his left foot, the decision was taken to undergo a below-knee amputation as the only way to improve life.

Neal said getting into
BMX biking not only picked him up but helped his children deal with the change too.

“We’ve always been an active family but all that stopped overnight with my accident,” he said.

“We needed to find the kids a hobby and we went to the council-run BMX sessions in Ponciau
Banks [in Wrexham] and
it has progressed from there.

“My daughter got involved and now they’ve got the biggest event in Britain coming up.”

He added the family spirit of being active had reignited since Spencer and Imogen took to the saddle.

“It has been a whole family thing and we’re all involved now. It has really gone from strength to strength,” he said.

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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