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Northwood Hills amputee victim is back in business after horror shop smash
A COBBLER who had to have his leg amputated after a car crashed into his shop window is now back in business.
Alpesh 'Alfie' Ramji, 40, almost died after the horror smash at Northwood Hills Shoe Repairs in Joel Street, in September 2006.
Mr Ramji said: "I was opening the shop on a Saturday morning and taking the grills off the window when a car suddenly mounted the pavement and crashed into me.
"I remember I still had my fingers in the grills. I fell to the ground and and started screaming in agony, there was blood everywhere."
Mr Ramji was rushed to Northwick Park Hospital, where he learned an elderly man had been driving the car. Police took no action against him.
But the ordeal was far from over, with complications causing the shop owner to stop breathing. After doctors revived him, he was transferred to a specialist unit at Charing Cross Hospital.
The shop owner, who lives in Gayton Road, Harrow, admits he struggled to face up to reality as he was forced to rebuild his life.
Mr Ramji said: "I was devastated after losing my leg, totally in shock. I had been very active and played sports three times a week, but my life was turned upside down and I suffered from severe depression.
"It was like being a baby again - I had to move in with my parents and learn to walk from scratch, I couldn't even use the toilet on my own."
A slow recovery followed, in which Mr Ramji had a prosthetic leg fitted and endured months of gruelling physiotherapy.
About 18 months ago, he decided to return to work and re-opened his shop on May 3 this year.
He said: "Before the accident I had been my own boss for two years, which was a lifetime ambition. My dad also runs a shoe repair business and I have worked in the trade since I was 10, so I didn't want to lose my livelihood or work for someone else.
"I'm still using crutches and I had to learn to drive again in a special mobility car with the accelerator on the left side, which has been strange, but I didn't want to sit staring at four walls all day.
"So many people have popped in to say how pleased they are to see the shop open again, which is lovely.
"My advice to anyone in a similar situation is to keep positive and remember it's not the end of the world. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
"My friends and family really were the biggest influence for me and I can't thank them enough for helping me to get back on my feet."
Mr Ramji has been nominated in the Citizen of Courage category of our Local Heroes awards. For more information and put forward your unsung heroes, visit www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk/heroes.
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