Harborough man almost killed by an horrific explosion is now taking on a 1,500-mile motorbike challenge to thank the people who saved his life

Rod Martin has raised about £30,000 for the air ambulance since his terrible accident

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 12:24 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 12:26 pm
Rod Martin will set off on a 1,500 mile sponsored motorbike ride to Scotland and back, taking in the ‘Scottish Coastal 500’ on the way.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Rod Martin will set off on a 1,500 mile sponsored motorbike ride to Scotland and back, taking in the ‘Scottish Coastal 500’ on the way. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A Harborough man almost killed by an horrific explosion is saddling up to do a 1,500-mile sponsored motorbike challenge to support the regional Air Ambulance.

Rod Martin, 69, will hit the road on Sunday (July 4) as he fights to raise over £2,000 to say his very own thank you to the emergency service which saved his life after he suffered horrific burns.

“I’m sure that I wouldn’t be here now talking to you if it wasn’t for the Air Ambulance.

Rod Martin will set off on a 1,500 mile sponsored motorbike ride to Scotland and back, taking in the ‘Scottish Coastal 500’ on the way. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“I must have generated over £30,000 over the years for them,” said Rod, of Ashley, near Market Harborough

“It’s 16 years in October since I had my terrible accident.

“So I’m heading out there on my motorbike up to the top of Scotland and back to boost their coffers yet again.”

Rod sustained a terrifying 52 per cent burns when he was engulfed in a fireball at his garage workshop on St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough, in October 2005.

Rod Martin will set off on a 1,500 mile sponsored motorbike ride to Scotland and back, taking in the ‘Scottish Coastal 500’ on the way. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“I had been welding a barrel containing heating oil when it suddenly exploded right in front of me.

“I was taken to Kettering Hospital by land ambulance.

“An Air Ambulance helicopter then flew in to whisk me to the specialist burns Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham,” said the pensioner.

“They got me there in 12 and a half minutes.

“The trip by road would have taken over an hour and a half – and that would have been that.

“In those days anyone suffering over 50 per cent burns usually died.

“So I owe my life to the brilliant Air Ambulance crews and the fantastic NHS medics who worked on me.

“I almost lost my left leg too but an Army surgeon managed to save it.

“I was in hospital for three and a half months receiving intensive treatment and care,” said Rod, a dad-of-two and grandad-of-two.

“I used to lie there in bed seeing all the Air Ambulance helicopters flying seriously patients in day in day out.

“I decided there and then to do my utmost to support the service which kept me alive.”

Motorbike-mad Rod, who became an MoT inspector after making a gutsy recovery, is now lining up his marathon road trip.

“I’ll be heading straight up to Inverness before tackling the Scottish 500 coastal ride.

“It’s going to be beautiful, shooting up to John O’Groats before sweeping back down the west coast,” he said.

“I’ll clock up about 1,500 miles and it will take me a week.

“I’ll be wild camping with perhaps the odd stopover at a B&B, I can’t wait.

“I’m hoping to pull in over £2,000 and someone has chipped in £200 today – so I’m very grateful to them,” said Rod.

If you would like to sponsor Rod as he prepares to head to the far north you can visit his fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rod-martin2