A CHARITY worker is heading on an aid mission to Africa just six weeks after almost being killed in a paragliding accident.
Roy Dixon, who runs the Mercy Trucks charity in Hexham, Northumberland, broke his back in two places at the end of May when his paraglider was slammed to the ground by a gust of wind after he had tied it to the back of his car.
Yesterday the former golf course builder saw off two trucks packed with supplies from Hexham to Sierra Leone in Africa. He will join the mission later this week. He said: “I can’t lift heavy things but we’ve still had aid going out to 10 countries in the last four weeks. We’ve had good help from the people in Hexham.”
Along with two trucks, a 40ft container is also being shipped out too. On arrival in Sierra Leone, the trucks will be put to good use and converted into mobile medical centres, joining three others already out in West Africa.
Mr Dixon said: “It’s very difficult not to do it. How could you not? It’s also the way it works – people keep donating machines and equipment and you see a tremendous need.
“When someone here donates equipment and our friends in Africa don’t have anything, then we try to link donations to needs.”
One of the trucks that left Hexham yesterday was donated by Cheshire Police, and the other by Cheshire Fire and Rescue. A member of each service will drive the trucks.
The aid they contain will go to help set up the Casa Emmanuel Hospital in Guinea Bissau where the charity has been helping for the past five years.
The aim is to kit out the new maternity facility and surgery in the hospital so medical staff in Sierra Leone can give better care to mothers during childbirth and greatly reduce the pressure on the orphanage.
Mr Dixon said: “There’s teams from all over the world and I think it’s brilliant. It isn’t down to me – I just start these projects then other people come in and pick them up and run with them. What else would I rather be doing?”
Mr Dixon’s paragliding accident happened in late May after he paid £300 to buy a machine on eBay.
He read half the paragliding manual before “anchoring” it to his car with a 50ft rope. But the rope meant he was slammed into the side of a hill by a gust of wind after losing control of the glider in seconds.
There’s teams from all over the world and I think it’s brilliant. What else would I rather be doing?