A TOP Wirral yachtsman has praised hospital staff for their help in his recovery from injuries that could have ended his career. 

Will Thompson feared his sailing days were over when agonising pain in his back and elbow made getting into a boat impossible.

In desperation he turned to physiotherapists at Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Heswall.

Thanks to them the 47-year-old from West Kirby is preparing to compete in the world championships again this summer, taking to the waters of the Baltic Sea on his Dart 18 catamaran for the contest in Germany.

He said: "It's all down to the physiotherapy team at Spire Murrayfield Hospital – two years ago I honestly didn't think I'd sail again but they've got me back in the boat.

"I could barely walk, I couldn't sail and I thought it was the end.

"I had even written out the advert to sell the boat and had just about hung up my life jacket.

"I don't know what I'd have done if I couldn't sail any more.

"The treatment and advice has been brilliant, I didn't need surgery and now I'm sailing again and I'm competitive again".

Will, who is also a graphic designer and vice-commodore of Dee Sailing Club at Thurstaston, has added the UK national inland title to a string of yachting successes across the world which include second place in the world championships in 1995, coincidentally also in Germany and on the Baltic.

Two weeks after the world championships Will has another big date on his sailing calendar, when Dee Sailing Club host the UK Championships in August when he will be competing when he had feared he would just be a spectator.

Physiotherapy manager Christopher Buckley, who used to work with Aston Villa's academy footballers, said: "When Will came to us he was suffering from a suspected herniated disc also known as a slipped disc or disc prolapse in his lower back.

"It's where the disc bulges out and is quite a common problem and can be caused by heavy lifting – in the worst cases it can mean surgery and although that wasn’t the case with Will it certainly ruled out sailing".