A musician who was left paralysed from the chest down following a car accident is set to publish his first album.
Wheelchair user Mark Howson, 40, who lives at Highburton, was bed-bound for three-and-a-half months following the accident which happened 15 years ago, when his car aquaplaned in heavy rain and ran down a banking near the Flouch Inn above Holmfirth.
Mark, who was working as a plasterer, had to be rescued by firefighters and was taken to Sheffield Northern General Hospital where he underwent surgery on his spine and had part of a kidney removed. The accident left him partially-paralysed.
Mark said: “I had a lot of time on my hands thinking about what I was going to do when I got out of hospital – something I could get into, something positive.
“Some friends brought along a collection of CDs – The Beatles, Kinks, Shed Seven to name but a few – to stave off the boredom and it got me thinking that I wouldn’t mind having a little go myself at making music. I bought myself a guitar and got some singing lessons which led on to songwriting.”
Mark said it took about six months to compile the debut album which was recorded at Loom Studios in Birstall and produced by Grant Henderson.
Some of the songs draw on Mark’s experiences, but he added: “I have not just written about myself. There are made-up stories in the songs. I also have a song about a friend who passed away when we were kids, Song for Sam, which I have dedicated to him.”
Mark, whose style is influenced by the music of the 1960s and 1970s as well as the Brit Pop of the 1990s, is often to be seen busking in Huddersfield town centre and Leeds city centre.
“I like to try my songs out on the public and see what sort of reaction I get,” he said.
Mark said music had helped him following his accident – along with the love and support of wife Anna, 35, and their daughters Jessica, 10 and Poppy, seven.
He hopes the album will prove inspirational for others.
“If I can inspire someone else who might be in a dark place at the moment I’d be over the moon,” he said. “Don’t ever give up. Find something you are passionate about and go for it.”
Illuminate Your Life is available to pre-order and is out on digital release on iTunes on May 26.