Millicent man proud to turn his life around after tragic life-changing accident

CRAFTY: Millicent resident Trevor Palmer’s pens and pepper grinder made out of Limestone Coast timber as part of his hobby business Trev’s Pens. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

By Molly Taylor

When Millicent resident Trevor Palmer was told he was never going to walk again, he, somehow, found solace, not sadness.

Over 15 years ago on November 9, Mr Palmer visited a local BMX track with his children for a casual ride and failed to land a small jump he was familiar with correctly.

Landing in a ditch at the bottom of the manmade ramp, he was launched from his handlebars and was chillingly left paralysed from the neck down.

Mr Palmer spent seven months in Adelaide regaining strength and balance through rehabilitation after the accident, since regaining movement of his wrists and hands.

“It was a life-changing moment which I just want to blank from my mind,” Mr Palmer said.

“I went over a jump and there was a hole at the bottom which was not usually there.

“The kids were there when it all happened, so it does play on them as well.”

Despite the tragic shake-up, the 53-year-old has kept his spirits high and is quite proud of where he is today.

Mr Palmer has since secured a project managing position with Blackbird Industries while has also launched his unique woodturning hobby business Trev’s Pens.

Prior, Mr Palmer had been a mechanic for over 26 years and operated a workshop with his father.

Tinkering away in his shed whenever he has had spare time over the past eight years, Mr Palmer said he has crafted pens, chopping boards, pepper grinders and other various items from all sorts of Limestone Coast timber.

“I needed something to do, because I am a hands-on man and I used to fix cars all the time,” he said.

“I always used metal lathes as a mechanic and it was just a matter of accommodating machines to be able to turn at my height and lots of YouTube videos.

“The fiddly pieces just take me two to three times longer than what it normally would to get things organised.”

Mr Palmer said he has sourced parts of the old Beachport Jetty as well as fruit tree twigs and other unique materials for his projects.

“People seem to love when a historical element is involved,” he said.

“It does keep my hands moving, so there is also a spin-off benefit to it.

“I am also surprised because I sell them quicker than I can make them, but really it is just a bit of fun and is time to myself.”

Only recently, Mr Palmer said he had been involved in a group pen swap which involved national and international exchange of handmade pens.

“There is quite a serious online chat group which get together and share ideas,” he said.

“I swapped with one of the best pen makers out there, he makes all the components of the pen except the ink.”

Having lived in Millicent his whole life, Mr Palmer said his close network of family and friends had helped him persevere through everyday obstacles and keep negative thoughts at bay.

“It does take a fair bit to be on top of all the challenges brought with being a quadriplegic,” Mr Palmer said.

“Sometimes people do not understand what I need to do, just to go to work every morning and do everyday things.”

Mr Palmer thanked his wife Kristy and children Sam, Kelsie and Tom for their support over the years.

“They are all strong and resilient, and have all found the better in things,” he said.

“You just have to keep positive and polite, it is what makes the world go round.”