Search
Close this search box.
Mobility

Benjamin’s determination to drive again after traumatic injuries

“I’m a journalist and I was covering the conflict in Ukraine when in March 2022 our team was attacked by the Russians. Our car was hit and the 4 other people in the car, my team, all died. I lost my right leg, my left foot and I had a whole lot of other injuries, I was badly burnt and I had a traumatic brain injury. I was in hospital for 7 months and came back to the UK, where I continue my rehab to this day.  

Eventually I wanted to start driving again, so I came to QEF to see which ways I would be able to drive. My doctor had already contacted the DVLA and we’d done all the eye tests and completed all the forms needed to confirm that I was able to get behind the wheel. I was walking pretty well at that point. I have a prosthetic leg and a brace on my left leg and there wasn’t really anything I felt I couldn’t do.  

Initially we sat and spoke about how I could move and what I could do and decided that I could try driving around QEF’s private track with a car that used hand controls and that’s what we did. It felt great – amazing. Cars give you absolute freedom, and for about 2.5 years I’d been reliant on other people to get places, and that first knowledge that you can get around yourself was great.  

I wasn’t certain when I first came to QEF that I would be able to drive, but the guys were so reassuring and told me not to worry, we’d just try a little bit and see how it went. And very quickly I realised it wasn’t going to be hard at all. I’m very lucky that despite the loss of my right leg nothing else really affects my driving – I can see, I can hold onto the wheel.  There was this immediate knowledge that I would be able to drive again, so that first experience on the driving track was excellent, really great. 

After that I was put in touch with instructors who had specifically adapted cars and after several sessions with one of them I was driving again. I have so much more freedom now. I can get to my appointments by myself and my physio by myself. It’s changed my life in a big way.  

At some point I want to look at driving internationally as I’d like to be able to drive and move around wherever I am in the world, but at the moment it’s just at home in the UK. There might also be a chance that I can drive with the actual peddles but I would have to come back to QEF and look at that again. I would just like to know that in an emergency I can jump behind the wheel of a normal car – but we haven’t done that yet.  

QEF has been really encouraging and nurturing. The team went at the pace I wanted to go at and they were really helpful throughout. There are lots of things when you are disabled, and you don’t want to be told you can’t do things. When I passed my test originally 20 years ago there was a sense of ‘can I do it’ and ‘what’s the instructor going to be like?’ but I never felt any of that at QEF. They were so kind and helpful and told me what I could do and especially having a private track, that really helped to build my confidence when I wasn’t ready to drive on the road.  

I am back at work now. I am still with Fox news, and reporting again back in Ukraine and I was in Israel recently for Gaza. Life continues and you mustn’t let things stop you. That’s what driving was about and getting back to work was about, I have never allowed what happened to me to persuade me that there was something that I couldn’t do. If anything, I feel I need to do more now than I did before.” 

Benjamin standing in a desert location, looking to camera wearing a safety vest, with multiple other people walking away from him on the left, wearing head coverings and long brown coats

Share

More Stories​

2024

Mobility

Driving was my ticket to a future of independence and I got so much out of the course with QEF. They gave me with the opportunity to increase my independence and to increase my understanding of my own skills. By passing my (driving) test they helped me to better myself – it was an incredible opportunity.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news, events and appeals from QEF

* indicates required