Tyne & Wear

Coronavirus: Amputee's wife builds makeshift wooden leg

False leg Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Mr Watson was told it would take months to get a prosthetic in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

An amputee has praised his wife after she made a prosthetic leg for him from items in their shed.

Steve Watson was told he would wait months for an NHS appointment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

His wife Atchari, 46, decided he could not wait and made a "leg" with a bucket, fibreglass resin and wood.

It kept falling off, but a second attempt with a moon boot and wood was a success, and Mr Watson, of Shotley Bridge, County Durham, can now walk.

Mr Watson, a teaching assistant who was in the Army, said: "My wife is very practical. She can turn her hand to anything.

'Long John Silver'

"At first when I saw her rummaging around in the shed I thought she was going to do the garden.

"The next thing, she had one of our son's seaside buckets and an old piece of wood. It was more akin to something Long John Silver would wear."

He added: "The next day when she came home from work, she got a moon boot from when I had a cast on my leg, cut it in half and used screws to attach it to a piece of wood. It's absolutely brilliant."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption When Steve Watson saw his wife rummaging in the shed he thought she was going to do the garden

The father-of-three, who used to run a Thai restaurant and takeaway with his wife, suffered a badly broken leg when he had a fall in 2018.

Following a series of operations, he agreed to have the lower part of it amputated in January.

'Getting around'

He was due to be assessed for a prosthetic limb last week but the hospital appointment was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Watson said: "I am not going to use this regularly but it will be good for getting around the house for the next three to six months.

"I desperately do not want to divert anybody in the NHS away from anything more important.

"There are people far worse off than me at the minute."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Mr Watson says the first false leg made with a bucket kept falling off

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