Fresh start for Robert after horror road smash

Former pipefitter Robert King, who lost his successful career after a horror motorcycle accident, is offered a fresh start by a Runcorn firm PH Jones. Tony McDonough reports

Robert King
Robert King in hospital following his horror motorcycle accident


In the space of a few seconds in May 2018 Robert King’s life and career were shattered.

Robert, now aged 38, was riding his motorcycle when he collided with a car at a T-junction in Loughborough. It caused him to “fly through the air and land in the road on the other side”.

Until that point Robert had worked as a self-employed pipefitter for 15 years, a job he loved as it took him all over the UK. He was also a fitness fanatic who regularly took part in marathons.

His injuries were so serious that they took up two pages in a hospital report. They included breaks to both ankles with one foot “smashed to pieces”. Robert was wheelchair-bound for five months and spent 12 months undergoing physio.

He had to “learn how to walk again” and was unable to work for two-and-half-years. Even now he suffers with arthritis in both ankles.

“You wouldn’t believe to look at me now but I was a big fitness freak, running marathons at a good level,” said Rob. “It has had a massive impact on my life, work being the big one.

“I was lucky to survive and recover as well as I did. I was so physically fit that helped me a lot. I basically had to learn to walk again.”

Robert, who is a father-of-two, did attempt to return to work as a pipe fitter, securing a few temporary jobs. He added: “I explained they wouldn’t be getting the same Rob King as before. It was hard.

“I reached a point where it was as good as it was going to be – it is a daily struggle.”

Now Robert has been given the opportunity to start a new career as a gas fitter with Runcorn business PH Jones. Based at Manor Park, it delivers service, repair, and installation services to more 181,000 homes across the UK via social housing providers.

PH has a three-year service and repair contract with Charnwood Council. It secured the contract via a heating and renewables framework from Knowsley-based procurement experts Fusion21.

As well as carrying out jobs such as radiator maintenance Robert shadows gas qualified engineers. He also attends training centre sessions as he works towards qualifications to fully qualify as a gas engineer.

Robert said: “PH Jones has been excellent; they do listen and consider what I have been through and there is a lot of support.


Robert King
Robert King on his motorcycle in the time before the accident
Robert King
Robert King is now working for Runcorn firm PH Jones


“I was really in a dark place at one point and wondered what I was going to do, this has given me something I can manage, this has given me a new start.”

PH has taken Robert on as an “improver”, someone who already holds some qualifications relevant to a role but not all.

Bid and corporate social responsibility manager, Amy Holbrook, said: “At PH Jones, we encourage our people to bring their whole selves to work, offering support and flexibility to suit their circumstances.

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“We are delighted to provide local training to help Robert attain his Gas Safe certification, while continuing to work on our contract with Charnwood Borough Council.”

To help Robert, the firm provides additional monitoring and mentoring, ensuring he is supported physically, with flexibility in his diary to allow enough rest and tailor jobs to his physical ability.

Sarah Maguire, social value manager at Fusion21, added: “When procuring through Fusion21, members are supported to achieve visible social value targets on every project. The case of Robert is testament to the benefits of this approach, and we wish him well.”

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