We moan – but no one knows what’s in store

Joe Mooney, the mayor of Wymondham, relaxing in his garden. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Joe Mooney, the mayor of Wymondham, relaxing in his garden. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

It was a little over a year ago that Wymondham mayor Joe Mooney woke up in hospital, bruised and bandaged, with no idea what had happened.

Joe Mooney after he was hit by a car in 2015

Joe Mooney after he was hit by a car in 2015 - Credit: Archant

He was put there by one of those split-second occurrences that have consequences for the rest of your life – he was hit by a car while crossing a road in Lowestoft.

Mr Mooney said: 'According to an eye witness I ended up close to the windscreen and rolled off the bonnet hitting the kerbstone on my way down to the ground.

'I sustained cuts to my face, my legs and I lost the use of my left arm. The biggest shock of all came when I discovered that I had permanently lost the sight to my left eye.'

Mr Mooney said he was 'completely knocked out' and could not remember what happened.

He said: 'I got a shock when I did come around to discover that, although they live a long way away, members of family, with my wife, were at my bedside.

'It was they who briefed me about why I was in hospital.'

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Mr Mooney has since recovered, and he said the accident had made him more determined to appreciate what he had.

He said: 'We all moan and groan about small things but no one knows what's in store for us around the corner.

'It goes without saying that in so far as this accident is concerned I am delighted to be alive to tell the tale.'

Mr Mooney grew up in County Mayo on Ireland's west coast before moving to London in 1969.

He joined John Lewis in 1975 and become a transport manager, a role he carried out until retiring 10 years ago.

He had moved to Wymondham in 1983 with his wife, Catherine, and found the Norfolk lifestyle suited him well.

Mr Mooney said: 'Norfolk has got a beautiful coastline, lovely countryside and delightful market towns such as Wymondham. Although I liked living in London it's hard to beat Norfolk as a great place to live and to bring up children.

'The quality of life is far better here than London.'

The couple have four grown-up children and two grandchildren.

Mr Mooney said it was a push to get a leisure centre built in Wymondham that prompted him to get involved in council politics.

He said: 'People were campaigning for one so I thought I would stand for the council.

'When you are on the council you have a real say and a vote on where resources go.'

Politics now takes up most of his time: as well as his role on the town council, he has been a member of South Norfolk Council since 1991 and Norfolk County Council since 2013.

Mr Mooney said he counts helping get the leisure centre built, assisting Wymondham Abbey to get funding for extensions, stopping development on land off Chapel Lane and helping the town's volunteer groups as among his proudest achievements in office.

He said the biggest challenge facing Wymondham was making sure infrastructure and services kept up with rapid housing development.

But, he said, that development should be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem.

'I take the view that we should welcome our new residents to our town.'

He said life was still gradually getting back to normal after the accident.

He said: 'I am now beginning to take part in my favourite hobbies such as cycling and walking. I am also looking forward to doing some hill walking during the next few months.

'When I phoned my insurance company to notify them about my eye situation I expected them to tell me that I could no longer drive.

'I was pleased when they told me that I could drive and they went on to say that they were not worried about one-eyed drivers on the road – they were more concerned about two-eyed drivers!

'It's good to be alive.'

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