Top award for boss who beat the odds

A businessman who '˜died' after a horrific works accident '“ and suffered serious head injuries while out cycling four years later '“ has received a prestigious industry honour.

Friday, 8th June 2018, 4:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 11:29 am
Paul Luff, chair of The Tile Association presenting the award to Paul Kelly, with his wife Rona and son Mark

Paul Kelly, founder of Leyland company Tilemaster Adhesives, has been awarded a lifetime achievement award by The Tile Association.

This year the association, which represents the entire UK tiling industry, voted to give the prestigious award to Paul, not only because he built up a highly successful local business, currently employing some 65 people, but also on account of his extraordinary life story.

Paul, who lives in Leyland, started out in business 40 years ago when, as an entrepreneur, he ran a small scale manufacturing company.

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In 1990 he set up an enterprise off Town Lane, Whittle-le-Woods, making ready mixed wall tile adhesive.

During the following years he built the business up, manufacturing products and personally delivering them all over the North West.

By 2002 he was employing three people and the business seemed to be growing steadily.

However, Paul’s life was about to take a dramatic turn when he suffered an accident at work, which came within a whisker of killing him.

In fact the paramedics said afterwards he had technically died momentarily.

On that fateful day in February 2002, Paul fell into a turning mixer blender in his factory.

Fortunately, a delivery driver was able to raise the alarm and, although he suffered severed limbs and digits, the paramedics managed to rescue them.

A team of ten surgeons were able to reattach one severed hand, as well as the fingers of the other hand, apart from the thumb, which was lost.

Despite losing a leg, Paul was soon walking and back at work and even riding a bicycle.

Cycling became increasingly important to him, but was nearly his undoing when he was involved in a second serious accident in 2006 – this time a collision with a truck while he was out on his bike.

However Paul again managed to make a full recovery.

Paul travelled to Solihull for the award presentation with Mark and wife Rhona, who also works in the business.

After he said: “I just feel very lucky to be able to see the continuing success of Tilemaster, and its growth as a significant local employer, despite the two mishaps which have occurred in my life, which nearly derailed everything.”