St Neots boating victim talks about the moment foot was severed

A MAN who had his foot severed in a boating �accident in St Neots has thanked �Magpas – and all The Hunts Post readers who support the charity – for saving his life.

Clive Potter described the “electric shock” he felt as the propeller blade sliced through his foot ... and changed his life for ever.

He said: “My life was saved by this charity and the readers of this paper who support the �charity. I’m alive because of them – it’s as simple as that.”

The 66-year-old was thrown from a boat into the River Great Ouse, at Eynesbury, on June 11.

Mr Potter, who lives in Stevenage and has more than 25 years nautical experience, said he felt an “electric shock” through his right leg as he struggled to make his way to the surface.

“It was a lovely sunny day and I was travelling up from �Stevenage with my wife �Christine, our friend Jo and our dog Hooch for a party in St Neots that night,” he said.

“I was on the front of the boat and Jo was in control.

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“We saw a bit of tarpaulin floating on the water, which can cause severe damage if it gets caught in the propeller.

“We were heading straight for the tarpaulin, so Jo slammed the boat into reverse. The bow went down and, as the boat jolted back, I was tossed in the air.

“Before I knew what had �happened I’d been catapulted into the water.”

Mr Potter said he initially thought his leg was broken, and had no idea how severe the injury was.

He said: “By this time I was about 25 metres from the boat and, as I tried to swim towards it, I realised I couldn’t.”

The retired sales engineer �managed to make his way to the side of the river and drag �himself from the water.

“I still hadn’t realised what had happened at this point,” he said. “But then I took one look at my foot and knew instantly.”

Mr Potter was given critical care at the scene by Dr Anne Booth, from Magpas, before being taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where he underwent surgery to amputate his right foot just above the ankle.

He said his �rehabilitation was difficult but was helped by another patient, Steven Stark, of Northwold, Norfolk, who had had a leg amputated following a motorbike accident a month earlier.

Mr Stark, 57, had also been helped by Magpas and Dr Booth.

“I remember lying in bed and seeing Steve go past using his walker,” said Mr Potter.

“I thought to myself ‘There’s a guy like me’ and a couple of days later we were introduced.”

The next 40 days in �hospital saw the two men forge a bond.

At a reunion at Magpas headquarters in St Ives last Thursday, Mr Stark, originally from Detroit, Michigan, said his friendship with Mr Potter brought him back from the brink of suicide.

Both men said they owed their lives to Magpas.

“I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for Magpas,” said Mr Stark.