An inspirational Largs man defied the odds to write a book, get a degree and run a marathon following a traumatic car accident which left him unable to walk or talk.

It was 18 years ago that Tom’s life changed forever when his car skidded uncontrollably during snowy conditions, resulting in a horrific crash at the Bridge of Orchy.

Following the accident Tom was left in a coma for 6 weeks and woke up unable to walk or talk- now 48, having lost his life as he knew it Tom has written a book about his story.

Tom broke his pelvis in 6 different places, suffered from fractured ribs and a serious head injury which left his brain so swollen that nurses were unsure of his future prospects.

After the accident Tom lost his hairdressing career, his ability to drive, his home and his wife.

Determined to create a new positive life for himself Tom underwent speech therapy, occupational therapy and clinical psychology on the road to his recovery.

His book, ‘This Journey We Travel’ aims to help people deal with the loss they experience in life and encourage them to think positive in overcoming any obstacle they face.

Tom said: “After the accident I had lost who I was, I was a different person and losing your identity is a lot for a person to deal with.

“The life I had was gone and it was case of learning everything all over again, speech, walking, everything but I seen everything as an opportunity to get better.

“The book aims to help people gain control of their life and overcome limitations that they may face.

“Everyone undergoes loss of some sort, I want people to know that no matter what happens you are not stuck and where there is a will there is a way.”

The book tells of how Tom overcame his own adversities with determination and the idea that he might have lost the person he was but he could build a new life.

Whilst injury to the right hemisphere of his brain hindered his speech, Tom has since been able to stand in front of over 300 people in Edinburgh and give a speech about his life.

He said: “I refused to give in to what had happened to me, I had to carry on and do what I could.

“I have went on to get a degree in Psychology and I am now doing my masters with the Open University.

“It has been slow moving at times, but I didn’t care how long it would take, it was something I was determined to do.”

The day of the accident Tom had been hillwalking on a snowy hilltop unaware of the changes his life would undergo.

The accident had left him immobile with uncertainty that he would ever be able to even walk again.

However, Tom’s determination defied these odds again, running the Glasgow half marathon in 2008.

He has managed to regain a life of fitness, returning to his hillwalking hobby and even teaching swimming classes at the Vikingar to people of all ages.

He added: “I am nowhere near the level of fitness and hill walking capabilities that I was at before, but it took well over 10 years before I was even fit enough to consider continuing with the hobby.

“I love teaching the classes, it again deals with helping people overcome obstacles, being able to see people progress from the training is incredible.”

Having taken over 3 years to write the book Tom says that it was a long process to get the facts and memories right.

He added: “I loved writing the book and I have already had so many positive comments about it on Amazon.

“People have said they haven’t been able to put it down and that its been inspirational.

“It’s great to hear these comments and to show people there is community support.

“I am focussing on finishing my masters now, but I want to write more, maybe about stress management and a practical swimming guide.”

Toms book ‘This Journey We Travel’ is available on Amazon to purchase, with plans for a book signing in the area.