A talented amputee has refused to let losing his arm to cancer prevent him from doing his job by attaching the tools of his trade to his stump. Jon Chapman, 43, was left devastated when he was told his arm would have to be amputated after he developed a cancerous lump in his right hand.
But instead of ending his career, Mr Chapman’s engineer neighbour John Freestone developed a solution – interchangeable tools that fitted onto his prosthetic right arm.
Mr Champman is now able to fit a hammer, pliers and a Stanley knife to his arm, allowing him to continue cutting keys and mending shoes at his shop in Derby.
Customers at his shop, which he has run for 30 years, have even affectionately nicknamed him ‘The human Swiss army knife’.
He has now been awarded the prestigious Craftsman of the Year award after beating hundreds of nominations from across the country.
Mr Chapman, who lives with his wife Kim, 43, and daughter Olivia, 14, in Mickleover, Derbyshire, first noticed a lump while on holiday in 2004 which turned out to be cancer.
After three months of radiotherapy the lump was gone and he was given the all clear but two years later the cancer returned to his hand.
This time doctors told him they had to amputate his hand and part of his lower arm to prevent the cancer spreading.
His neighbour then developed the prosthetic which allows him to continue with his work.
Mr Chapman said: ‘It has been difficult but the attachments for my prosthetic right arm have really helped.
‘I can now hold a nail and put it in with a hammer, which I couldn’t do before.’
Mr Chapman said: ‘You just have to be positive. There are certain things I still can’t do but Jake, my assistant, is there to help me.
‘Having the prosthetic is amazing, it really means you can hold things steady while you are working. I even have a special hook for holding the steering wheel while I am driving.
‘The hospital gave us some of the attachments which were converted and John added a handle. Onto that you then add the tools and I can do all sorts of things now.
‘When I lost the arm I didn’t see any way I could continue in my job, how does a craftsman work if he doesn’t have a hand?
‘You just have to be positive. There are certain things I still can’t do but Jake, my assistant, is there to help me.
‘There was a month when I was really down and I was thinking about selling the business. But the support I have had has been fantastic.
‘I certainly never thought I would be winning awards, for a while I was worried about how I would pay the mortgage, never mind this.
‘I was astonished even when I found out I had been shortlisted, but to win is just out of this world.’