Inspirational paraplegic man who writes funny books to explain condition to grandson praised by Leeds head teacher after visit
A grandad inspired to donate thousands to charity after a horrifying accident has been praised by a Leeds educator for teaching children that disabilities should not stop them pursuing their dreams.
Brian Abram, 64, was cycling from Derbyshire to his home in Halifax in 2013 when he was forced off the road - before hurtling over a wall, down an embankment and into a river.
A passing dog walker saved his life by holding his head above water and calling for help.
However, Brian sustained harrowing injuries which left him paralysed.
Speaking to the YEP, he said he didn't know how he survived the accident.
Following several weeks in a coma and almost a year recovering in Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, Brian was left to pick up the pieces of his previous life.
Grandson Charles was just 6 months old when the accident happened and Brian worried that when he was older he was going to ask why his grandad was ‘different'. So he wrote a silly story to explain what happened, why he was in a wheelchair and the fun they could still have together..
After showing this to his wife Linda, Brian was inspired to complete this story and write more - and so ‘The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!’ were born.
They have since become a huge hit in schools and with children across the county and beyond - even as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
Every penny of the sales from the books goes to charities that help people with spinal injuries and - thanks to the sponsorship of Irwin Mitchell - Brian has donated more than £13,000 already, despite the Covid pandemic.
Brian said he hoped the books allowed children to be educated about disability whilst having a good laugh at the daft things he gets up to.
Among the schools recently visited was Parklands School in Leeds, where headteacher Chris Dyson praised his work.
“The moment Grandad Wheels zoomed into assembly he had the children's attention," Mr Dyson said.
"Reading the story live and then following with lessons in the classroom really highlighted the adventures you can have in a wheelchair and disabilities shouldn't stop you from following your dreams.
"The best visit you can ever hope to have.
"What a guy and what a book."
Every penny of the sales from the books goes to spinal charities - thanks to the sponsorship of Irwin Mitchell - and Brian has donated more than £13,000 already, despite the Covid pandemic.
Brian said he hoped the books allowed children to be educated about disability "whilst having a bit of fun".
He added: “The kids I meet in schools don't care about may disability, they just like a good story that makes them laugh.
"Like when I tell Charlie that my arms ache from pushing myself all day, so to help he fastens a fire extinguisher to my wheelchair that propels me round the supermarket!
"The aim was never to make money and that’s why every penny we make is donated to charity."
Brian has published two books so far.
In his latest adventure - set to launch on September 30 - Brian has teamed up with Paralympic GB star Hannah Cockroft MBE.
The book features a 100m race between the pair following a chance meeting on a track between Charles and Hannah.
It is set to hit the shelves in September - just weeks after Hannah is due to compete in the Paralympics in Tokyo.
Brian said: "I approached Hannah, showed her the story and even a cartoon of how she might look.
"She loved it and we got to work putting it together."
Brian has toured the book around a number of schools across West Yorkshire.
Brian added: "Charles is eight years old now and I he gets a bit embarrassed about what I get up to, but I know he’s proud really!"
To learn more about Brian and the series, visit https://www.grandadwheels.com/
All proceeds from sales of ‘The Adventures of Grandad Wheels!’ are donated to two charities that help those with Spinal Injuries – the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and Back Up.