A DUNBAR man who was left disabled after being seriously injured in a car accident as a child has been awarded a PhD - after completing a thesis on the experiences of people with disabilities.

Colin Cameron, of Friarscroft, was left in a coma when he was nine years old, after a vehicle struck him while he crossed a road in the former Yugoslavia while on holiday.

It left him with several long-term disabilities, affecting his speech, restricting movement in his arms and resulting in a knee replacement. Doctors predicted he would never see, hear or speak again - let alone achieve a doctorate.

Dr Cameron (pictured) has since taught on the subject and has given several prestigious conference presentations.

He began studying at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Musselburgh, in 2006, and completed his course last month.

Originally from Ayr, he was awarded the PhD at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre for his thesis, titled: "Does anybody like being disabled?: A critical exploration of impairment, identity, media and everyday experience in a disabling society." Research for the work took him as far north as Fraserburgh, and down to Brighton, where he met and spoke with a number of people - some who felt strong and positive about being disabled, some who saw it as "something to get on with", and some who hated the experience and would do "anything to avoid it".

The 46-year-old, who lives with wife Maggie, has also worked as a freelance disability equality trainer since 2002 and plans to continue teaching and researching having achieved his doctorate.

He told the Courier: "A car hit me travelling at 40 miles per hour, back in 1974. It was a zebra crossing and there was a bush growing in front of it - you had to step around it to see if something was coming.

"Unfortunately, something was.

"I was in a coma for three weeks and I sustained quite a lot of long-term injuries.

"That inspired me to get involved with this - absolutely. I see myself as a disabled person, I've no problems with that.

"One central thrust of my PhD thesis was the development of an idea which had initially been proposed by two doctors - John Swain and Sally French - in 2000, which was this idea of this affirmative model of disability. It wasn't very well developed and it had been the main focus of my PhD thesis." He added: "I have a number of options - I'm in talks with a Scottish university about developing a masters degree in disability studies and talking with people as I might be going back to do some more teaching at Northumbria.

"I'm also in discussions about developing research through Manchester Metropolitan University but based up here.

"In a sense, the teaching would be going back to where I was 10 years ago but this time with a lot more experience, and a lot more knowledge."