A Merseyside warehouse worker who survived a life-changing car accident as a child is celebrating 40 years on the shop floor of Palmer and Harvey’s distribution centre in Haydock.
Terry McCabe, now 58, was just 13 years-old when a car veered off the road onto the pavement as he made his way to school in Kirkdale, Liverpool. The collision severed his foot at the ankle and he was told he would probably never walk again.
Surgeons at the then Northern Hospital in Liverpool managed to re-attach his foot but, in spite of two operations, failed to give him any use of the damaged limb. It was a fortunate turn of fate which changed the course of Terry’s life.
“By chance, my doctor was having lunch at the Adelphi Hotel with a specialist called Dr Sood from Leeds. He told him that he was deeply concerned that he was treating a young lad with his life ahead of him and had failed twice to give me a working limb. Dr Sood said he thought he could do it,” said Terry.
The surgeon talked to Terry’s father and asked permission to try, what was then, experimental surgery by fitting a plate to replace Terry’s shattered ankle. After learning to walk again for 18 months on crutches and 12 years of close monitoring, he was discharged from medical care.
“When I was old enough to work, I was registered disabled and was given what was known as a ‘green card’ which was a huge stigma in those days. People told me ‘you’ll never get a job’, but I’m not the kind of person who likes to be beaten. I applied to Palmer and Harvey for a job as a van assistant. They saw past my disability and gave me a chance. I have been with them ever since”.
Terry progressed through Palmer and Harvey’s ranks to become a warehouse worker at Wood Street in Liverpool. He moved to the company’s Derby Road premises in Bootle in 1981 and then on to the Haydock distribution centre in 1987 where he is now a goods-in co-ordinator monitoring the movement of thousands of outers of stock each day through the 120,000 square-foot warehouse.
“When I was discharged in 1981, Dr Sood and the whole medical team met me at the Royal Southern Hospital,” added Terry. “They knew I had a good job, thanks to Palmer and Harvey, and told me they couldn’t be more proud of me. It was very moving. I don’t know where Dr Sood is now but I’d like him to know that, as well as Palmer and Harvey, it is thanks to him and his team that I am celebrating a 40-year career.”