It can be done…

…with a can-do attitude.

Andrew Stubbs tractor

Matthew Evans’ Valtra tractor adapted with chairlift by Andrew Stubbs

We were delighted to be contacted by Andrew Stubbs, an amputee farmer who does welding jobs for fellow farmers.

Andrew had read “Reach for the Sky” many years ago and been inspired by the story of Douglas Bader. When Andrew himself was involved in an accident in 1984 resulting in limb loss, he was able to use that inspiration to good effect. While he confesses to having bags of can-do attitude anyway, he, like Douglas, confounded his doctors following his amputation. They told him he’d never farm again, to which he replied: “If Douglas Bader can fly, then I can drive a tractor“.

Not only did Andrew go on to drive his tractor, he has also been able to use his ingenuity and welding skills to help a friend to drive his. Matthew Evans had suffered a recent car accident that left him partially paralysed without the use of his lower body, which made it impossible for him to get into his tractor, a vital piece of equipment for any farmer. As the film you will see says: “The land always needs working if you’re a farmer…“. Imagine how frustrating it must feel to be a farmer and be unable to work that land?  Matthew needn’t have worried as help and a practical solution were at hand. As you will see from the short film, Andrew was able to adapt a Valtra tractor with a special chairlift enabling Matthew to get in and out with ease and so to pursue his livelihood, something so important to anyone but particularly to those suffering from life-changing injuries.

Many congratulations to both Andrew and Matthew, both of whom possess the Bader spirit in spades. Douglas would have been so proud and delighted to have been an inspiration. His death was a long time ago now, but the reason we started the Foundation was as a direct result of the sacks full of letters from those he’d helped demanding that his spirit and inspiration shouldn’t die with him. It is truly heart-warming to hear stories like Andrew’s that prove that it didn’t.

You can click HERE to see how Andrew resolved Matthew’s access problems in a short film made by Andrew’s brother.