Despite being paralysed from the chest down, Nick Packham from Kent is still playing an active role within the Kent Fire Service, thanks to his Paravan PR50 powered wheelchair from Precision Rehab.

Back in 2002, Nick was involved in a serious car accident in which his friend was fatally injured and Nick was left with a broken neck at C5.  “I immediately knew I had been seriously injured and while they initially thought I had a broken back, I was soon given the life changing news that I would be permanently paralysed” explained Nick.

After nine months in hospital, Nick was discharged and returned home determined to rebuild his life and return to the career which he had loved for 12 years prior to the accident.  Nick initially undertook a role within the community safety team which involved promoting fire safety and road safety in schools, colleges and groups such as the WI.

Nick is still involved in raising this awareness but now also heads up a team of volunteers which respond to operational incidents and supports people who have been affected by a fire or accident. Nick thoroughly enjoys this role and his Paravan PR50 plays a vital part in it as he explains:

“I am on call 24/7 and would be unable to respond to incidents if it wasn’t for my Paravan PR50 and wheelchair accessible drive from vehicle as I have to be able to travel to where ever the incident may be independently”.  Nick’s PR50 is fitted with a Paravan lock down system which locks his powerchair into the driving position in his vehicle and enables him to drive independently to where ever he is needed.  Nick’s Paravan lock-down system charges his PR50 as soon as he is in the driving position, ensuring when he arrives at a Fire Service incident his chair is fully charged.  The Paravan lock-down system is the only one of its kind to offer this.  “The combination of the PR50, lock-down system and vehicle is simply brilliant.  The lock down system is incredibly easy to use and the sliding seat function on my chair is also great as it means I can just slide the seat into the most comfortable driving position as the lock down system is static” Nick continued.

Nick has known Matt for over 15 years having previously used him to supply his powerchairs.  “When I knew the time had come to replace my existing powered wheelchair two years ago, I knew Matt was the best person to speak to and once again he didn’t let me down and when he showed me the PR50 I knew it would be perfect”.

As Nick already had his vehicle, he needed a chair from which he could drive but also be able to go down low enough to allow him to access the vehicle and the PR50 met these criteria due to its low floor to seat height of just 38cm.

IMG_6775Although Nick does not require it, the PR50 is equipped to take respiration apparatus and can be operated safely even by people with severely restricted movement thanks to an adapted special control unit.  Nick’s model features a special headrest and extra power supply both of which are fitted as standard factory options.   Whether the user is at home, shopping, socialising with friends or at work, the PR50 has been designed to meet all their requirements to ensure they can lead an independent life.  Being able to turn within its own length due to its width of just 64cm, the PR50 is highly manoeuvrable and can fit through standard doorways and if, unlike Nick, the user is unable to drive themselves it can also be used as a car seat with its integrated seatbelt – another feature unique to the Paravan range.

“The PR50 is without doubt the most comfortable powered wheelchair I have had since my accident 16 years ago thanks to the great postural support and the stability I have when driving is second to none. I live in a very rural part of Kent and in the winter the nights can draw in quite early, however with the LED lights I can go out safely as they are as effective as car headlights! The leather finish on the seat and padded arm rests makes it very easy to clean the chair which is another great feature as I enjoy fishing and this can sometimes leave the chair a little dirty”.

All in all, I am delighted with my Paravan PR50 and I would not hesitate in recommending Matt and the team at Precision Rehab to anyone looking for a powered wheelchair and the fact they arranged it to be finished in fire engine red was the perfect finishing touch.  Their level of knowledge and customer care is second to none” concluded Nick.

“I have known Nick for many years and I am delighted that I have once again been able to supply him with a powered wheelchair that meets all his requirements.  The work Nick does with the Kent Fire Service is invaluable and hearing how the PR50 is helping him do this on a daily basis is fantastic” commented Matt James, Director, Precision Rehab.