STAR of TV show Dragons’ Den Duncan Bannatyne was in St Helens at the weekend to launch a charity for people who have lost limbs through injury or illness.
The multi-millionaire entrepreneur has been named as patron for AIM (Amputation Inspiration Motivation), which is the brainchild of Andy Reid and Stephen Cruse.
Based at Ruskin Leisure, it was formally launched at Langtree Park in an event that attracted more than 200 people.
Both Andy and Steve have suffered life changing injuries, which fuelled their desire to help those in similar circumstances.
Andy suffered his devastating injuries on tour in Afghanistan, while Steve lost both legs below the knee in a traffic accident in Australia in 2008.
Andy said: “We are aiming to go into hospitals – firstly across the north west – to meet people who are having limbs amputated, whether it’s due to an illness like diabetes, or a traumatic accident like myself.
“We will tell them what life is like, and will try and give them as much knowledge as we can. It’s important to tell them that they will have a good life in the future.
“When we go to schools giving talks, the money raised will go towards taking people on trips.
“It’s about getting amputees together and talking about any issues. Not just leaving them at home.”
He added: “To have someone like Duncan as a patron will give us a high profile and, hopefully, a lot of other businesses will want to work with us.”
Stephen, who is the managing director, added: “It was a fantastic night and we raised around £10,000, but it’s also about raising awareness about who we are.
“On the night, we gave special recognition to inspirational people, including Lauren Parker who won the Child of Courage Award at the Pride Awards.
“In October, she did a sponsored bike ride with us for AIM and raised more than £1,000.”