'Brush with death made me want to help people'
A garage mechanic has launched an autobiography which tells the incredible story of how he fought back from a near-death experience to dedicate his life to helping others.
Andy Kent, owner of Andy’s Kars in Bar Hill, suffered a brain bleed that technically killed him, and has overcome huge challenges since being wheelchair-bound.
His book, White Light, is an honest, courageous and inspiring tale. It includes hilarious mishaps, adventures both planned and accidental, an impossible fundraising challenge, the charity he founded to help rehabilitate disadvantaged young people and a love story to break anyone’s heart.
Mr Kent said: “I wrote this book to say thank you to my family – my wife Jan, my children and grandchildren, to all the people who have played a part in my life.
“So many people are fighting invisible battles every day – with their bodies, their minds, their circumstances – and most of the time, you wouldn’t have a clue about any of it just by looking at them.
“These hidden challenges, like difficulties with speech or movement, or psychological issues, mean people need our support. That’s what I’ve always tried to do, give people a chance when no-one else will, and try to show them that there’s always another way.”
Winner of the inaugural Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI) award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 2015, just one of many awards he has been recognised with over the years, Andy is widely respected in the motor industry.
His garage specialises in adapting vehicles to accommodate disability. He regularly takes on employees with physical or psychological challenges to help them develop life skills and professional qualifications.
In 2009, he founded his own charity, Andy’s Ark, as a centre to help young people come to terms with their situation, giving them technical skills to help them find employment and independence, to encourage a robust, resilient and ‘can do’ attitude.
With a helping hand in many high-profile success stories to the centre’s credit, including Paralympic 100m gold medallist Jonnie Peacock, Andy is extremely proud of the people he works with.
White Light is available to order through adgkpublishing.com. It is available at selected local bookshops including Waterstones and WHSmith, and online retail partners including amazon.co.uk.