A DEVASTATED ex-lorry driver has been told he will never walk again after he plunged 20ft into a brook and shattered his leg.

Terry Johnstone says he considers himself lucky to be alive after he fell when fitting fence panels at his home in May Avenue, Canvey.

This weekend, Mr Johnstone met the firefighters who he says saved his life and thanked them in person.

He said the last three months since the accident have been “hell” as he endured eight operations to repair his tibia and fibula as well as undergoing muscle and skin grafts. Doctors have now fitted him with a specialised frame supporting his damaged leg.

Mr Johnstone, 49, says he owes so much to the crews that saved him, and also thanked his partner, Teresa Lynch, and his three children Jay, 19, Abigail and Jodie, both 17, for their support.

He said: “The fire and ambulance service did brilliantly and I am so gratetful. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Mr Johnstone said although his life has been difficult since the accident, which occured on January 19, he hasn’t given up hope of walking again despite the doctor’s diagnosis.

He said: “It has been a real struggle. I have good days and I have bad days, but my life changed in a matter of seconds and there is no changing that.

Sometimes I get angry because I know I can’t go back to working in my previous job.

“I am a very active person and have never taken days off work in the past.”

Mr Johnstone worked as a specialised HGV driver for 24 years before the accident, but is now wheelchair-bound.

He added: “I don’t remember the accident at all, but looking outside makes me shudder. I just need to try and move on.”

The fire crew from Canveywho helped rescue Mr Johnstone, along with crews from Leigh, said it was nice to hear from him.

Commanding Officer Terry Trayler said: “It was a terrible story, but it was good of Terry to come and see us after the accident.

“It is few and far between that we get any thanks and it is a nice little morale boost, but that is not why we do what we do.

“We wish him all the best with his recovery.”