Alf back on his feet again following operations at Spire Regency Hospital

An adventurous dad who damaged his tendons and joints climbing up mountains in search of historical aircraft crash sites is back on his feet again following surgery at Spire Regency Hospital.

It's just a good job Spire Regency is around to get me back on my feet!

Alf Clark got involved in the unusual hobby when his son Alan became interested after receiving a book about the subject as a present when he was a teenager.

Over the following years, the pair travelled around the UK together in search of wreckage - indulging a unique passion which has now seen Alan set up his own website and even write a book detailing their findings.

But the regular hikes up and down hilly terrain – combined with a love of sport which saw Alf play cricket as a wicket keeper into his forties – took their toll on Alf’s knees and ankles. His problems began around 10 years ago when he damaged the Achilles tendon in his right foot whilst climbing on the Island of Hoy in Orkney, Scotland, which soon after completely snapped.

Alf, from Romiley, Stockport, underwent surgery to repair it with Mr Rakesh Dalal – one of Spire Regency’s experienced orthopaedic surgeons.

But a decade on, the wear and tear was also starting to show in the Achilles tendon to his left foot, as well as in the cartilage in his right knee. Alf returned to Mr Dalal for treatment, and opted to have procedures to repair the tendon and remove the cartilage performed at Spire Regency Hospital through his private health insurance.

He underwent the first procedure on his knee in February, before returning in April for the other operation on his Achilles. Now he is looking forward to getting back on his feet properly and being pain-free again.

Alf said: “It had got to the point where even just walking down the street was painful.

“I knew what was happening from my experiences previously so I was expecting to be told I needed surgery. I was pleased that Mr Dalal was still available to carry it out as it was great to have that trust and continuity.

“I chose Spire Regency as the convenience and friendliness of the place really appealed to me. Everyone was very attentive, pleasant and helpful both times I went in, and the expertise of Mr Dalal and the medical staff is clear.”

Alf will soon be beginning physiotherapy to re-build the strength in his leg, and hopes to then return to his volunteering role at the Life Centre in Romiley, Stockport, where he works in the Life Café. He also still works part-time as Vice President of the Valuation Tribunal for England - an independent appeals tribunal funded by Parliament to handle council tax and rating appeals in England.

He said: “It took around four and half months to feel fully recovered last time – it’s not an instant fix, but with the high level of care on offer at Spire Regency I am confident that they will get me there safely and steadily.

“Although my mountain hiking days might now be over, I wouldn’t change them. Alan and I had a brilliant time travelling around exploring – and it’s instilled a passion for the subject in him that continues today.

“It’s just a good job Spire Regency is around to get me back on my feet!”

For more information or to make an appointment at Spire Regency Hospital, visit their website on  or call 01625 505412.

To read more about Alf and Alan’s explorations into aircraft crash sites visit:

About Spire Healthcare

Spire Healthcare is the second largest private hospital provider in the UK, with 38 hospitals and ten clinics nationwide. The company is built on a heritage of almost 30 years’ experience running successful private hospitals and offers a full range of integrated surgical, medical and diagnostic services.

The company was formed from the sale of BUPA Hospitals to private equity company Cinven in 2007, followed by the purchase of Classic Hospitals and Thames Valley Hospital in 2008. Spire has since built Spire Shawfair Park Hospital (Edinburgh), Montefiore Hospital, acquired London Fertility Centre, and Lifescan. Since Spire was formed, performance improvements have included:

 • Multiple Independent Healthcare Awards: ‘Medical Practice’ (2012) ‘Innovation’ (2011), ‘Risk Management’ and ‘Nursing Practice’ (2010 and 2009), ‘Healthcare Outcomes’ (2008) ‘Infection Control Excellence’ (2007)

• Increase in percentage of patients rating Spire ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ - from 87% in 2008 to 92% in 2012*

• Increase in percentage of consultant surgeons rating Spire ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ - from 51% in 2008 to 78% in 2012*

• Increase in percentage of employees who think Spire is a ‘great place to work’ - from 62% in 2009 to 78% in 2012

• EBITDAR uplifts from £127.4m in 2008 to £188.2m in 2011.

For further information please visit:

* Rating options include ‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘quite good’, ‘quite poor’, ‘very poor’ and ‘totally unacceptable’. Survey administered by Howard Warwick Associates in September 2012.

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Alf Clark at the aircraft crash site on the Island of Hoy in Scotland

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)