A former taekwondo champion has had his leg amputated weeks after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
Dave Mears was crowned world champion in 1984 and went on to build a successful teaching career before moving to Thailand.
During his 21 years abroad, Dave qualified as a professional photographer and ran a series of successful bars before Covid-19 caused his business to come crashing down.
His foot started to swell and he was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for treatment on April 10. His left leg was later amputated below the knee.
Medics haven’t confirmed the cause of the infection, but Dave fears it was linked to the vaccine.
He said: “It started with a horrendous fever. I was admitted to hospital on the 10th and on the 12th my foot just exploded. There was blood everywhere.
“At first they said I might lose a couple of toes, but then it was half my leg.
“The doctors say it’s hard to prove that it’s linked to the Covid jab and that the infection could have been there for some time, but it’s strange that I became ill for weeks on the night of the vaccine.
“I think it has got to be linked. It has put me off having the second one.”
Dave, 58, remains at Addenbrooke’s Hospital but hopes to be transferred to Peterborough City Hospital to continue his recovery.
He said: “The staff at Addenbrooke’s have done a fantastic job. The NHS is absolutely wonderful.
“Now it’s a matter of doing the physio correctly and not trying to rush it.”
By December Dave hopes to have use of a prosthetic leg and plans to return to taekwando displays.
Dave had lost three toes on his left foot a few years ago due to complications with diabetes.
His former pupil Richard Auciello, a taekwando instructor in Oakham, has set up a fundraising page to support Dave’s recovery.
He said: “As a child Dave was like a second dad to me. I owe him a lot so it’s only natural for me to want to help him at a time like this.”
One of the immediate challenges will be to find new accommodation with suitable access.
Dave added: “I have so much to look forward to and I know there are so many people behind me.
“I can’t wait to be back taking photos around the town that I love.
“As you get older, you appreciate what a beautiful place Stamford is.”
Addenbrooke’s Hospital declined to comment on Dave Mears’ case because it does not comment on individual patients.