I’m lucky to be alive says Fakenham auctioneer James Beck as he recovers from motorcycle crash
Fakenham auctioneer James Beck has spoken of his fight back from the brink of death, his gratitude to the people who saved his life and his joy to be returning to work.
A motorcycle crash left Mr Beck, one of Fakenham's most well-known characters, in a critical condition for several weeks.
A consultant at the critical care unit in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn even told him that he had 'used eight-and-a-half of his nine lives.'
But he is now preparing to run his first auction since the crash on the A148 Creake Road at Sculthorpe on November 13.
Mr Beck, 39, from Colkirk, said: 'I feel incredibly lucky to be alive. I feel I've been given a second chance at life.'
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He broke his right collarbone, suffered a damaged right lung, broke seven ribs, suffered internal bleeding and had a stroke.
The stroke has affected his eyesight and, although he will be running the auction on April 12, he will bring in David Gould, an auctioneer from Aylsham, to conduct the sale.
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Part of Mr Beck's lung has come out and a titanium rib has been inserted.
He said: 'I'm still in pain. I'm not sure if I'll ever make a full recovery but I can feel myself getting stronger each day. I hope that I will eventually be auctioneering again.'
Mr Beck's life was saved by an off-duty doctor, Kay Bridgeman, who happened to be nearby at the time of the crash. Dr Bridgheman works in Warwickshire and was on holiday in Norfolk.
Mr Beck was then treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn and Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire and was released before Christmas.
He said: 'I phoned Dr Bridgeman to say thanks for saving my life. It made her day. I'm going to meet up with her for a cup of coffee at some point. She did an amazing job and I was so lucky that she was there.
'I am so grateful for the help I received from the ambulance crew and from the guys at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Papworth Hospital. They were all incredible.
'And the support I've had from people in and around Fakenham has been brilliant. People have been stopping me in the street, shaking my hand. Total strangers who heard about the crash have even been stopping and saying nice things. It's bizarre.'
Mr Beck has a wife, Tina, a son, Jaybe, two, and a daughter, Tara, seven.
He said: 'Tina suffered the most and she's really been through the mill. I was out of it in hospital, I didn't know what was going on.
'She was there in hospital every day supporting me, holding my hand. She had to deal with the business and help the children to cope with everything. She's really been incredible.'
Mr Beck is the third generation of his family to run what is one of the longest-running businesses in Fakenham.
Currently called James Beck Auctions, it was established as a livestock auction in 1896 by Mr Beck's grandfather Colin and was then run by his father, Hugh.
Mr Beck started working for the company when he was 16 and it is the only job he has had.
He said: 'I love my job and I'd love for my son to take over one day – that would be amazing.
'I'm a very sociable person and my job enables me to meet all sorts of different people from all over the place.
'It is amazing that auctions continue to be so popular in this day and age and I'm looking forward to a really busy year for the business. It's great to be back.'
The auction will be at James Beck Auctions, Cornhall, Cattle Market Street, Fakenham, on April 12, starting at 11am and then every Thursday from 11am.
Previously booked items can be taken to Cornhall on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am until noon.
For more information, go to www.jamesbeckauctions.co.uk