A former blacksmith who lost his arm in a workplace accident last year, is now training to set a world record for the most weight bench pressed with a prosthetic limb.

John Whitman, 41, to undergo 36 operations before his arm was amputated below the elbow to save his life from sepsis.

The 41-year-old, who now works as an Argos sales assistant, shared: "After the amputation I just felt lost. All the operations and pain just became who I was." He added, "It is such a big, life changing experience. It took a toll mentally and physically. It was very draining on not just myself but the family as well. Everything gets flipped upside down."

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John in hospital after losing his arm in a horror accident

"But I was very fortunate to have the right sort of backing from my family. They have given me the drive to be more motivated than before because I have to try and push myself harder." John continued, "Every day can be a challenge, but I take each day as it comes and try to embrace those obstacles."

John, hailing from Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, has been determined to regain independence since the accident. Earlier this year, he was fitted with a customised 3D printed prosthetic arm - the Hero Flex - by Open Bionics. He said: "When I was lying in my hospital bed, I looked up the different types of prosthetics you could have and what would be available to me at the time. "

"I was offered an NHS prosthetic, which was great. But Open Bionic contacted me and invited me for an experience day where they gave me a presentation on what they offered


John training
The former blacksmith was fitted with a 'bionic' arm

"I was very fortunate, because they then offered me a six month trial of the Hero Flex arm for free. I'm so impressed with it, its durability and how it functions. It's lightweight and has given me flexibility in my lifestyle.

"It was a game changer. Getting outdoors and to the gym really felt like gaining a bit of the old me back, and gave my energy a positive outlet. I can do what I want in life and look cool at the same time."

John, who owns 12 dogs, has since been able to explore new hobbies such as breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for dog shows around the world, from Crufts to the Boston and District Canine society championships, which has helped him to build back his fitness and confidence.

John as a blacksmith
Following the injury, John now works for Argos

John is now aiming to establish a new world record and to become the first person to lift the most weight in an hour while bench pressing with a prosthetic arm.

Similar previous records for single arm bench pressing include that achieved by Dariusz Slowik (COR), who lifted 16,964.8 kg in Bialogard, Poland on 14 November 2019, according to Guinness World Records.

He shared: "I will literally be the first person to set the record. I am very motivated about it.

"I will say to people, even my parents, if I can reach my target it will be a huge milestone - not just for me but for people who are in a similar position."

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