Car crash victim battling epilepsy with chicken coops

Jim Knock with his chicken coop creations.

Jim Knock with his chicken coop creations. - Credit: Archant

The 47-year-old from Hartland is putting his carpentry skills to good use after finding out he has epilepsy.

The chicken coops created by Jim Knock.

The chicken coops created by Jim Knock. - Credit: Archant

A HARTLAND man who discovered he had epilepsy when he had a seizure at the wheel has turned his life around by designing high end chicken coops.

Jim Knock, who used to work as an installations manager for a high-end joiner, had his first epileptic fit when driving along the A39 in 2011.

“I was driving along minding my own business, and the next thing I knew I was strapped to a black board with blue flashing lights around me,” said John.

“Afterwards the people in the car behind said they had just seen me slump over the wheel.

“My car had gone across the carriageway, hit a hedge and turned onto its side before skidding across the road and smashing into the other hedge.

“Apart from a few grazes and aches, which could have been caused by the seizure itself, I was completely fine.”

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After the collision, the 47-year-old had to surrender his licence to the DVLA and ended up eventually losing his job.

Stuck at home with no income or transportation, he was determined to put his 30 years of carpentry experience to use.

“I was tying myself in knots – I knew I had to do something because otherwise I was going to stress myself to the point of having another seizure,” said Jim.

He came up with the idea of designing and making the chicken coops, which take him around three-days each to complete.

In a bid to push his new venture, Jim took his designs to the North Devon Show where he scooped an award from the judges.

But it hasn’t all been easy, as Jim has had to face the daily stigmas of living with the condition.

“When you tell someone you have epilepsy, they take a step backwards like it’s contagious or you’re going to collapse in front of them,” said Jim.

“It’s taken me two-and-a-half years to be able to face people out and say I am epileptic.

“It can be embarrassing – I had a seizure on public transport once and then I had to face the same people every day because I have no other way of getting around.”

Now Jim is determined to face the future and is currently re-applying for his driving license, having been seizure-free for 14 months.

He is hoping his chicken coops will provide him with enough of an income to be able to live off.

“I wanted to create a high end, good quality product that I am happy with, and now I just want people to know about them,” he said.

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