In just a few seconds Pete Harper’s life was changed forever.

As he rode his motorbike down Borrowdale in June 2000 to pick up a friend to go and watch England play Germany in the Euros a car pulled out near Grange Bridge.

He hit the car and was thrown through the air.

“All the damage was done to my left side,” said Pete.

“I had a snapped femur and then the tib fibula and the large metatarsal.

“My trailing leg hit the wall, it pulled my body to the left and I just missed a tree.

“So that’s a lucky escape in some kind of perverse way.”

However, as traumatic as it was at the time, the accident was ultimately the catalyst for Pete to start the well-loved Podgy Paws pet shop, in Keswick, which he runs alongside wife Chris on Tithebarn Street.

Pete, who at the time worked as a rep for a tobacco company, said he had long had an inkling to open a pet shop.

“That little idea stayed in my mind and the accident was definitely the catalyst,” he said.

“When they tell you they’ve had to restart your heart twice because it packed up, I think it means you’re not scared of giving things a go.

“You think ‘So what, I’m alive, let’s see if it works’. You just have a different attitude.”

Peter underwent a number of operations and months of physio before he could return to work and eventually recommence the active lifestyle of golf, fell walking and cycling he enjoyed before.

“When I got to hospital complications set in and they did say they would have to take my leg off,” he said.

“But when I woke up it was still there. That happened on a couple of occasions. As I recovered I was just happy to be able to get back out and walk with the dog or play a bit of golf, simple things.

“I managed to get back to work within 13 months and did part time for maybe three weeks and then into full time.

“I had been told two years but I managed to do it a bit earlier and I think it was because of all the work with the physios and getting into gym and getting that leg as strong as it could be.

“Some of the physios I worked with were just fantastic people, they really push you, but it was very awkward walking at first. But life just got better and better.

“When they take out muscle you don’t regenerate it, so it’s a slim, thin leg but they have done a fantastic job and we got to a place where it was strong as it could be and I could get back to work and start to cycle.”

Pete, 57, set up Podgy Paws 13 years ago and it has been in its current premises for the last 11.

Chris and Pete both run the store alongside two full time staff and a number of part-timers.

He says it is a definite advantage being based in a town which has been voted the UK’s most dog friendly on four occasions.

“It’s been amazing how well the business has gone,” said Pete.

"Chris has been unbelievable, she got totally behind it and it just went from strength to strength.”

The shop has stayed open during the coronavirus crisis as supplying some of the specialist pet food it stocks is counted as an essential service.

“Chris and I furloughed staff and did short hours in the morning and then I would go and do deliveries in the afternoon,” said Pete.

“People have been in their gardens so much they have begun to appreciate the birds and it’s amazing how much bird food we’ve been delivering.”