From the brink of death, given no hope of survival, to breaking a British record on a motorbike while partially sighted – there is no barrier that this Sutton-on-Sea man cannot break through.
Nigel Limb, 56, has always been a thrill-seeker who loved motorbikes, racing from a young age and running a mechanics business for 27 years – before his life was changed immeasurably.
On December 27, 2015, just two days after spending Christmas with his grandchildren and wife, Nigel was involved in a serious motorbike crash on Mablethorpe beach.
Nobody knows the true extent of the collision, but Nigel has been told that he hit concrete at nearly 70mph and cracked his skull from his right eye socket to his right ear.
He was taken to hospital in an air ambulance and went into a coma, with doctors giving him next to no chance of survival beyond living through a machine.
He had severed the nerves connecting his brain, which caused severe stem damage and still leaves him with brain damage and partial sight to this day.
Just days before his miraculous recovery, Nigel’s wife Julie was told to contact loved ones to say their goodbyes, but they didn’t realise just how much of a fighter Nigel was.
The night before he woke up from his coma, Julie played music to Nigel in what she thought might be some of her final moments with her husband, and she recalled seeing a teardrop fall from his eye.
That next morning, Nigel’s eyes opened and he had conquered the ultimate battle, the fight against death. Doctors could not believe it, and spent the weeks that followed calling him ‘miracle man’.
Nigel told The Lincolnite that for two years after his injury, he felt suicidal for the first time in his life.
“I had lost everything. I lost my business, my way of being, my hobbies, I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. On Christmas Day we were normal pillars of society, in less than two weeks our whole lives were turned upside down.
“Thankfully I didn’t let my suicidal thoughts conquer me, and I decided one day that the more good you keep in your mindset, the more negativity you can block out.
“I want to make every moment count now, I’ve been given another chance at life and I can safely say I now have a happy heart. The way I see it now, it would be a crime to humanity if I didn’t make the most of my opportunities in life and give my all after the incident.”
He has done exactly that, and while most people would be scarred for life, Nigel was back on motorbikes soon enough and wanted to tackle an unthinkable hurdle.
On August 8, 2021, Nigel broke the British record for a partially sighted drag strip run, hitting speeds of 76mph in just 9.24 seconds on the 1/8 of a mile track at Melbourne Racing in York.
Perhaps what was most incredible about it was that he only had one run due to the weather, and he nailed it first try.
“I get goosebumps thinking about it. It’s so great to set a record like that after what I’ve been through”, he said.
“I understand why people would call me a bit mad for going back on the bike but it’s in my blood, I’ve loved motorsport my whole life. I guess you could call me a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
“Right before the accident I must have been smiling, because I was doing something that I love, I’m not a blind man who raced, I’m a racer who went blind.”
Nigel is hoping that his story can inspire people to unlock their potential, able-bodied or not, no matter how big or small the obstacles are that stand in your way.
He is an ambassador for Wilberforce Trust, a charity in York which offers experience days for disabled people who may not have the opportunities to do the things they want to do in their life.
He said: “Everyone’s mountain is a different size, but it takes the same will and effort to get to the top.
“I lived an ordinary life for fifty years, and while I may never get that sense of normal back, I know that I have to do my best, I owe it to myself.
“If I can inspire just one person to be more positive about their circumstances, it will mean more to me than any record or accomplishment in my life.”
Nigel isn’t finished there, and he has plans to educate and offer inspiration to young people to chase their dreams and goals.