An engineer who suffered near fatal injuries when his bike collided with a car in County Durham has launched his own business as he continues his road to recovery.

Dick Allaker from High Pittington was in an induced coma for three weeks following the accident at Thinford near Spennymoor in August 2015.

The 55-year-old, who was working at Caterpillar in Peterlee at the time, was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital with severe injuries including two broken legs, a fractured pelvis, back and ribs, as well as severe internal damage.

Dick, who is married to civil servant Kathryn, spent a total of four months in hospital before he was eventually discharged on Christmas Eve 2015.

Now, just over three years since the crash, Dick has launched D&K Welding Services, which is based out of a unit in Quarrington Hill.

Dick Allaker 3

He has invested in welding equipment and is hoping that he can accommodate companies who have smaller or one off orders which the larger companies wouldn’t take.

Dick, who also spent time working as a snagger on construction sites and at power stations, said: “I have never been unemployed in my life but after the crash, it was impossible for me to go back to the job I was doing as physically, I’m not just not able to work like I used to.

“But after I was discharged from hospital and began the long road to recovery, I knew I wanted to work, actually that I needed to for my own peace of mind.

“I decided to invest my savings to take on this unit, and buy some machinery and equipment to get me started. I am completely realistic about what I’d like to get from this – I know that if I effectively manage the pain, I can work up to six hours a day.

“The next steps for me now are to undertake some training and then spread the word that I’m here and no job is too small for me.”

Dick has already had meetings with Business Durham and County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network to see what help us available to support his self-employment journey.

Guy Bashford is business engagement officer with Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme. He said: “It’s credit to Dick that he absolutely wants to work and has decided that whilst he hasn’t the fitness levels to be employed by someone else, he can work for himself. We’re looking into what support and training Business Durham may be able to link him in to which would really enable him to grow D&K Welding Services.”

Dick moved into the unit at Quarrington Hill Industrial Estate in April and is now actively pursuing welding opportunities with businesses in the area. The equipment and machinery he’s invested in enables him to work with both stainless steel and aluminium, which is something he belives will appeal to his potential customers.

Dick, who lives with Kathryn and their three dogs, added: “I know I shouldn’t be here. The accident was so serious I could have lost my life, but I didn’t and I’m here. I don’t want to sit around and feel sorry for myself or for other people to feel sorry for me; I want to work and hopefully this business enables me to do that.”