Drummer Paul Swindells is ready to rock again, seven months after he was almost killed in a violent robbery.
The 27-year-old, who suffered appalling injuries when he was run over three times by a thief stealing his van, is back playing with legendary Preston band Dennis Delight.
Paul admits he’s “lucky to be alive” and is looking forward to a better year after the horrific events of 2017.
With a new album due out, life is much better for the multi-talented musician, even though he is still not full recovered from his ordeal.
“It’s been a really tough time,” confessed Paul, who has been forced to give up playing keyboards in a second band – heavy metal outfit Sinnergod – following serious damage to his right hand.
“I went through a stage of not wanting to do anything any more - the drums or the keyboards. I’d just had enough. But I’ve slowly come back to music again.
“I’ve some loss of movement in my right hand. The dexterity in that hand isn’t very good any more.
“I’m OK with the drums. And I’m able to play the guitar. But the keyboard is very finger-orientated and I can’t do that any more.
“But it’s not crippled me, I’m not in a wheelchair. In the end I’m just happy to be alive.”
Paul, from Walton-le-Dale, was working for Countrywide Signs at an address in Bolton last June when he tried to stop an opportunist thief driving off with his van.
He became trapped under the vehicle after it drove over him three times before the thief fled. He is still at large. At the time Paul told the Post from his hospital bed: “The whole thing was over in seconds and it wasn’t until I’d been dragged several feet on the road and had my body pulverised by the weight of the van that I realised what had happened. I was just expecting to get up and carry on with my day’s work, but I found I couldn’t move from my neck down.
“I’ve come to realise just how close I was to not making it – after the third time of him driving over me I was thinking my body can’t take much more. I remember screaming ‘stop’.”
Paul suffered a catalogue of injuries to his pelvis, chest and back and broke two bones in his fingers. He spent almost a month in hospital.
He still isn’t fit enough to return to his driving job, six months after the attack.
But the excitement of a new Dennis Delight album out soon has helped him on the long road to recovery.
Behind the Disguise was due for release in September, but was put on hold while Paul recovered. The other band members cancelled all gigs until he was fit to return.
“I am back playing drums now and the band is practising well,” he said. “We’re just getting ready for the new album to be released. It’s sounding fantastic and it’s really looking good. It’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.
“There was a time when I thought I wouldn’t get back to playing. But I’m pretty much healed now, although it’s more the mental issues with me now, as you can imagine.
“I’ve had to learn to love music again. But it’s back, although I’m a different person. I think about things differently and I’ve got a different outlook on life now.
“Life’s too short. But I’m just glad to be back doing what I’m doing. I came off bad, but not that bad.”
Dennis Delight lead singer Frank Halliwell said: “It’s great to have Paul back. The lad’s been through it, but thankfully he’s strong again.
“We put everything on the back burner while he was out of action. But now we’re aiming to get the album out in January and we’ll be starting to play gigs again. I think it’s been good therapy for him.”