THE most seriously injured survivor of the 7/7 London bombings has launched a service to help businesses with their legal obligation to improve disabled access.
Daniel Biddle, who recently relocated to Abergavenny, suffered appalling injuries when the Tube train blast at Edgware Road station catapulted him through the carriage doors and on to the track.
Fifty-two people died in four separate attacks on the morning of 7th July 2005.
Mr Biddle was on his way to work as a project manager for a construction firm when he watched Mohammad Sidique Khan, the terrorists’ ringleader, denote a homemade bomb on the Circle Line train just six feet away from him.
He lost both legs, his left eye, his spleen, the hearing in his left ear, and wasn’t expected to survive after losing 87 pints of blood in subsequent operations.
Surgeons had to remove house keys and about £7.40 worth of pound coins and 10p and 20p pieces embedded in his body by the blast. One 20p piece remains lodged in his thighbone.
But since coming out of hospital more than a year later in June 2006 after spending two months in a medically induced coma and suffering three cardiac arrests, Mr Biddle has started to put his life back together.
Despite developing post-traumatic stress disorder, which led to the breakdown of his marriage, he retrained as a qualified access consultant.
The 35 year-old is also set to remarry and has now moved from Romford in Essex to Abergavenny after meeting his fiancée Gemma Morgan by chance on Facebook.
He has set up Nationwide Access Consultants Ltd, which aims to be a one stop shop for all issues relating to disability and physical access, and works with the NHS, retailers and hotels to make their buildings more accessible.
Mr Biddle and Ms Morgan also spearhead Accessible Abergavenny, a project looking to increase levels of accessibility in the town and raising awareness among local businesses of their legal obligations to the disabled and elderly community.
“When I acquired a disability my life changed forever but just because you’re disabled it doesn’t mean you can’t do things,” said Mr Biddle, a keen wheelchair boxer.
“The perception of disability is the biggest stumbling block yet my inspiration and goals are no different to anyone else’s.
“I witnessed six people on the same Circle Line train die in the most horrific circumstances. To know that I survived and they didn’t fills me with guilt.
“I’m very lucky to be alive and it would be a huge injustice to the victims’ families if I didn’t do something with this opportunity I have been given.”
His service has been backed by Monmouth MP David Davies, who hired Mr Biddle to undertake a full accessibility audit of his constituency office in Usk.
Mr Davies said:
“I was immediately struck by Daniel’s inspirational story.
“He didn’t just lose his legs, he lost his relationship, his job, and yet he has managed to fight back.
“Many other people in his position would have given up but he has built a great business which has a lot to offer.
“It’s important that everyone does what they can to support disabled access and I was very pleased to find someone as knowledgeable as Daniel who can give advice on this.
“I think it’s fantastic that he’s moved to Abergavenny and I wish him all the best for the future.”