Mark Ormrod became a Scheme customer in 2008, after becoming a triple amputee following an injury as a Royal Marines Commando. He spoke to us about how the Motability Scheme has helped him to regain independence and make memories with his family – read his story here.
When Mark first heard about the Motability Scheme 15 years ago, he was still early on in his recovery process, after being injured on Christmas Eve 2007 during his time as a Royal Marines Commando. The injury resulted in him becoming the UK’s first triple amputee from the conflict in Afghanistan.
He first heard about the Scheme during his rehabilitation process. When we asked him what his first thoughts were, he told us he was initially very hesitant.
“I’ve always been really into cars. It might sound silly, but I thought that if I joined the Scheme I’d only get a limited choice of cars. I was worried that it’d be obvious when I went around that I was driving a Motability Scheme car.”
“I remember it made me feel so much better, to know that I could drive a normal car like I used to. When I’m on the road and you see me from the chest up, no one knows any different. And I loved it.”
Becoming a driver again
One of the things that Mark didn’t like in the early stage of his recovery was not being able to drive. He didn’t want to rely on people to get out and about, especially when he’d been so used to his independence before.
He said: “I’d get a little bit of anxiety just to ask my wife to go out for a drive with me.” Sometimes he’d just wanted to go for a countryside drive, or go sit by the beach – anything to get out of the house for a bit. But he didn’t like having to ask every time.
That’s why it was such an exciting process for him to become a driver again.
Learning to drive after my injury was a big leap in my rehab. To be honest, it was almost as important to me as learning to walk, just in terms of the independence it gives you. You don’t need to ask anyone to help you get out of the house.
He also talked about how having a car on the Scheme has had a huge impact on his mental health. He and his wife have three children, and having his car allows him to live the life he wants. He can do the school runs, go to the gym, and even drive all over the country for his work.
“I honestly didn’t appreciate it before I was injured,” he said. “But it’s so much harder now, walking to places and getting public transport. Having my own car gives me a sense of purpose, because I can go out and live my life and go on holidays with my kids.”
Especially living in Plymouth, he says that driving to the beach and having chilled-out picnics with his family has allowed him to make some really special memories.
To some people, a car is just a car – but to me, it’s a little bit of an extension of who I am.
Being on the Scheme
Whether choosing his next car, speaking to his dealer or reaching out to one of the Scheme partners, Mark says he’s always found it an easy experience. He uses the website to search for cars and decide what he’s interested in.
“It’s amazing – you could just sit in the comfort of your own home and whittle down your options and shortlist them.”
He’s also had great experiences with his local dealer. “They’ve just made it so easy,” he says. “Over the whole 15 years I’ve been on the Scheme, they’ve made it a joy to go in and speak to them.”
And whenever he has needed help with his car, he said it’s been “completely trouble-free.” He told us about how he was driving to Cornwall last year and, after realising that one of his tyres had low pressure, he stopped at a nearby Kwik Fit. It was nearly 5 o’clock and they were almost closing, but they stayed open and helped him to sort the issue out so that he could get back on the road. “It was phenomenal,” he said.
Interested in joining the Scheme?
The Motability Scheme helps you to get mobile by exchanging your mobility allowance to lease a brand-new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), scooter or powered wheelchair. Our worry-free package means that insurance, maintenance and breakdown cover are all included in the price you pay.
Join the 650,000 people across the UK who are on the Motability Scheme, and experience more everyday freedom.