A couple of years ago on a Cornish coastal walking holiday with several friends, Legs4Africa Founder Tom Williams was modestly telling me all about his recent trip to The Gambia and how after meeting an amputee (Paul) he had ended up returning to The Gambia a second time and surprising Paul with a prosthetic leg!
The story of how Legs4Africa started is a truly inspiring one and even more so when you hear about how redundant prosthetic legs in the UK have to be discarded. The thing that Tom had realised and explained to me was that the difference the legs could make in a place like The Gambia, physically and emotionally was huge and essentially it could be so easy. All we have to do is collect otherwise obsolete items from the UK and get them over there. So I made some calls but didn’t have much luck.
Fast forward a couple of years and after further visits to the Gambia with more legs for unsuspecting strangers, Tom has grown Legs4Africa as a good cause in to what will soon be a official charity and is set to arrive with 500 legs packed into a van in the next couple of weeks, thanks to over 100 contributors on a crowd funding website and numerous people who have pitched in along the way. Thankfully he never asked me if I wanted to drive the 4000 miles!
He did ask me though if I could help out with the twitter page which I happily accepted. So I began twittering away informing people digitally about @legs4africa waiting for that lucrative retweet from a Gary Lineker or a Stephen Fry but sadly nothing seemed to be happening again.
It wasn’t until after fellow Cornish coastal walker Phil Tunstall and the brilliant creative Megan Clarke decided to change the ridiculous NeckNominate video craze to LegNominate to help raise awareness of the ambitious target Tom had set on the crowd funding website something quite lucky happened. A few days later on the TV show The Last Leg on C4 they did the same. They also had decided that Neck Nominations were stupid and asked people to share on twitter their ideas for Leg Nominations instead, using the hashtag LegNominate or in twitter speak #LegNominate, (now I’m not going to explain hashtags right now Mum, you’ll have to text me.)
I had been sharing all of our supporters LegNominate videos all week and so saw a chance to maybe get a mention on the show and so all the following week I tweeted the show and the presenters, two of which are amputees and to my surprise one of them (Alex Brooker) replied!
He said that he had a leg for us but it had an Australian Flag painted on it – would we still like it? Having been a fan of the show during the Paralympics I knew the exact leg he meant and so to cut a short story even shorter I went to house to get it…