A MAN who was told he would never walk again after breaking his back has fulfilled his dream of becoming an award winning sausage maker.

Mike Ford, of Crabtree Green, Eyton, who runs Pen-Y-Llan Pork, won the Traditional Pork Sausage category at this year's Cheshire Food and Drink awards.

But remarkably he achieved this feat 10 years after an accident in which he suffered injuries medics predicted would mean he would never be able to walk again.

Mr Ford, 45, used to work at Kellogg's in Wrexham and has only been rearing pigs full-time for around three years after regaining his ability to walk after the accident, and deciding to pursue his real ambition.

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He said: "I worked for Kellogg's for about 25 years an a maintenance engineer but started to keep pigs while I was there and started selling sausages to guys at work.

"Back in 2008 I ended up in a wheelchair after falling out of a tree and breaking my back in two places, damaging my spinal chord.

"I was left with no feeling from the waist down and told I'd be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, but I went to Gobowen (Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital) and after a period of time defied medical opinion."

He added: "I thought to myself, 'I'm not going to be in a wheelchair the rest of my life' and while I'm still in pain all the time, and still don't have feeling in part of my feet, I can walk.

"I went back to work for a bit after the accident but I decided to take the plunge about three years ago and do what I really wanted to do.

"Because I was rearing pigs while I was still working it hasn't taken as long to build the business up.

"But it's still a small family business; myself, my partner Wendy and my son Tom, and we supply to the Grosvenor Garden Centre in Pulford, the village shop in Overton and we actually supply to a lot of places on the Wirral.

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"We were delighted to win the award, especially as they opened up the competition to other regions, and we joked that because we're supplying Welsh meat, we came, we saw, we conquered."

Mr Ford said he feels there is scaremongering about how healthy sausages are, and is keen to stress his sausages should not be bracketed with processed products.

He said: "The reality is sausages are still very popular "It is about diversifying and using prime cuts of outside reared pork - but depending on what you do with them as part of a meal, they are absolutely fine. We use a local abattoir."

Deciding to pursue his sausage making dream full-time has also enabled Mr Ford to give something back to the community.

He added: "Every year without fail we donate food to the homeless in the area around Christmas time, and try to get out and feed them breakfast for free, to give something back."