It was meant to be a joyous occasion – a day to celebrate with the rest of the world as Prince William and his princess Kate Middleton got married. And Paul Felton wanted to be part of it.
Keen to get involved with the celebrations, the caretaker was preparing for a royal knees-up by hanging bunting at a community centre.
But then disaster struck when he fell from the ladder and crushed his left ankle before being rushed to Walsall Manor Hospital for treatment.
Two years later, with his ankle failing to properly heal, he was faced with making the difficult decision to have it amputated.
And now he has decided to turn what happened into a positive by creating a support group to help other amputees in the region.
The 55-year-old from Willenhall, who had been hanging the bunting ready for a party at Darlaston All Active community centre on Willenhall Road in April 2011, said: “The Royal Wedding cost me my left leg. I am not quite sure how I fell from the ladder, it is a bit of a blur,” he said. “I was rushed to hospital and I remember the paramedic telling me not to worry, saying my leg was most likely broken and could be repaired.”
X-rays revealed Mr Felton had suffered a crushed left ankle, multiple fractures, a sprained wrist and a deep cut to his head.
He had pins inserted into his ankle to stabilise it and his leg was plastered to try and heal the fractures.
He also underwent months of intensive physiotherapy, but his bones were not healing properly and he suffered months of painful infections. Medics advised him the best option was to amputate.
He said: “After being told I would have to have my leg amputated, I felt such a strange range of emotions. I was very worried and concerned about how my life would change and I was also worried about the impact it would have on my family.
“I thought there would be a support network that I could talk to and share my feelings with but there was nothing of that kind in the Midlands.
“I knew there must be other people like me desperate to talk to someone else, so I decided to set something up.”
Mr Felton has set up the West Midlands Amputee Support Group and is currently in the process of organising its first meeting.
He now uses a prosthetic leg made for him by The Maltings Mobility Centre in Wolverhampton. He said: “I had to watch the Royal Wedding from a hospital bed.
“The last two years have been tough and I have struggled to recover from my injuries. Now I just want to be able to bring other amputees together and make them feel that they do not have to go through the trauma of amputation alone.”