Preston rehab centre saves 50 legs from landfill - and donates them to help African amputees

Staff at Preston's Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre are helping amputees in Africa get back on their feet.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 4:58 pm

As part of a national campaign by the charity Legs4Africa, the Preston centre – run by the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – has donated 50 discarded prosthetic legs that would have otherwise been destroyed.

In the UK, approximately 5,000 prosthetic legs end up in landfills every year, meanwhile, in Africa, 1.7 million amputees are in dire need of a prosthetic limb to help them live independently.

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The Preston trip was just one stop on a 950-mile trip by Legs4Africa, which in total, collected more than 600 prosthetic limbs from mobility centres and component suppliers across the UK.

These parts and legs get sent to where they are needed to build new, custom-fitted legs for children and adults who may otherwise not be able to access them.

Tom Williams, founder of Legs4Africa said: "There are an estimated 45,000 people in England who rely on prosthetic limbs. We are extremely fortunate to have the NHS and we will be forever grateful for their service but unfortunately, it’s not so easy to obtain prosthetics in The Gambia or Tanzania.

"Our work allows us to open up the conversation around limb loss and improve quality of life for so many people.”

Some of the false legs being collected

In many of these countries, a leg built from imported parts costs upwards of £800, making them totally unaffordable for the vast majority.

By 2025, the charity aims to be working with more limb fitting centres across Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia to recycle unused and returned prosthetics.

Victoria Bateman, Prosthetist Lead at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre, said: “Helping others to achieve their full potential through supporting their mobility and independence is at the heart of what we do at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre.

“It’s a privilege to support Legs4Africa to help amputees regain their independence through the donation of prosthetic limbs that otherwise would have gone to landfill due to them being unable to be reissued in the UK.”