THREE years ago a Ludlow man faced the grim prospect of being handicapped for the rest of his life and losing his career.

Reuben Thorley’s knee and his future were in bits following a terrible accident.

But thanks to his own determination and the skills of surgeons he has made a remarkable recovery.

The Taekwon-do teacher has battled against the odds to win three European silver medals for England, less than three years since his knee was completely rebuilt after a serious car accident.

Reuben Thorley, 47, from Orleton, had three batches of surgery in 2014 to replace his anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments using his own hamstrings and donor tissue after they were severed in a collision with a tree on a road which had suffered an oil spill.

For a year he was unable to walk without a special brace as, with damaged medials and no cruciates, his leg was unable to hold his own weight.

The philosophy of Taekwon-do teaches perseverance and an ‘indomitable spirit’ and this Reuben was able to demonstrate in spades.

Third Dan black belt Reuben is a deputy head teacher in a Shifnal secondary school by day, but instructs at the Universal Martial Arts Taekwon-do school in Ludlow two evenings a week.

Not wanting to let his students down, he taught the class for the first months while hopping on crutches.

After the initial NHS physiotherapy ended, Reuben began training his leg using P90X and Insanity videos in his living room at 6.00 a.m. every day before work.

His knee strength increased and he was finally signed off by the consultant to compete again in the summer of 2016.

The whole Thorley family take part in Taekwon-do and last summer Reuben’s son Jacob, aged 15, was invited to attend national Taekwon-do squad training to try out for the England team.

Rather than sit at the side bored, Reuben asked if he could join in the training just for fun. It was a real shock, then, when the team manager suggested he should also try out!

In January 2017 both father and son were selected to represent England and in April they travelled to the European ITF Taekwon-do championships in Liverpool.

While Jacob also competed well in his category, this time it was Dad who came home with silverware – winning silver medals in both individual and team patterns, and another in team sparring.

“I can’t get across how grateful I am to the surgeons, that three years ago I was only walking with a brace and now I have come home with three medals,” said Reuben.

“Taekwon-do gave me an end-goal to focus on in my long recovery. It just shows that martial arts can help everyone, no matter what their fitness level is,” he added.

Reuben instructs at Ludlow Leisure Centre on Tuesday nights from 7.30 p.m. and on Friday nights at 6.30 p.m.

For more details call 07773 787450 or visit