Wrexham boy given artificial arm in 1980s set to become top scientist

Reporter:

Matt Sims

A MAN given the chance of a normal life thanks to the kindness of Leader readers when he was a child in the 1980s is set to become a top scientist.

James Paul Jones is currently working towards becoming a clinical scientist in the transplant unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and has just achieved first class honours in immunology in his Masters degree.

Born in 1980 with no right arm below the elbow, vital funding was given to his family by the people of Wrexham when he was a child to allow him to be fitted with a myoelectric prosthetic limb.

The limb works via two electrodes connected to either side of the elbow of the upper arm.

These can be activated alternately with pressure to open and close the prosthetic hand.

Campaigns were launched locally to raise money to pay for transport for trips to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester and for the limb itself.

Thanks to the generosity of local people about £3,000 was raised, with leftover funds donated to the limb unit at the hospital.

The fundraising efforts were featured regularly in the Leader at the time, about 27 years ago.

Mum Ros, 52, said: “For us it was fantastic because he was allowed then to have cutting-edge technology.

“You want your child to have the best, but we (she and husband Paul) were newly married and did not have a lot of money.

“The people of Wrexham got behind us and helped, which was just brilliant.”

Ros said: “I worked in paediatrics at the Maelor hospital at the time and a consultant there agreed to arrange for us to see someone in Manchester.

“It turned out he was eligible for the limb and he was eventually fitted with one, and trained how to use it.”

James went on to become a pupil at Ysgol Bryn Offa, on Ruthin Road, before going to Bristol University to study biomedicine.

Following a brief interlude working in IT, he returned to science, getting a job in a laboratory in Manchester.

After being told by a professor there he had the ability to train as a clinical scientist in immunology he did exactly that as well as successfully studying for his masters degree. He was also awarded a prize for being the top student.

Ros, who moved with husband Paul to Bath about 10 years ago, said: “I’m not sure what would have happened if it hadn’t been for the fundraising.

“There were people like Joyce Parry who helped raise money at Erie Electronics on Wrexham Industrial Estate and staff at Metal Box, where my mother-in-law worked, who did collections.

“It was a fantastic effort and a huge help to us.”

See full story in the Leader

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