THE old adage is that every black cloud has a silver lining and you don’t get to a much blacker place as a young man than breaking your back in a car crash and waking up to discover your legs don’t work.

But anyone who ever thought being paralysed below the waist was going to stop Arthur Williams in his tracks certainly doesn’t know him.

The silver lining to this ex-Royal Marine’s story is that after his horrific shunt in 2007 – his car went off the road as he returned to duty from leave in Pershore – is that he re-aligned his career sights a bit.

For a while he returned to the Marines but then left and learned to fly a plane. Now he has taken to sports presenting for television and following a trial run at last month’s BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, he is in line to go all the way and present at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

He said: “It’s brilliant. I never thought I’d be doing this. It’s a very steep learning curve but I’ll get there.”

After all, he is just the right kind of material. Clean cut and articulate, smart, disciplined and confident in an Armed services sort of style, Arthur also has considerable sports experience.

Brought up in the south Worcestershire village of Eckington, he played rugby for Prince Henry’s High School in Evesham and also swam for Pershore.

He was a runner too, both cross country and on the track, and while at Worcester Technical College took part in the Army Cadet National Athletics finals after winning the Midland region 1500m and javelin and collecting another gold in the 4x100m relay.

Following his accident, Arthur competed professionally in both wheelchair racing and handcycling.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 17 and passed out in 2004, joining 42 Commando at Plymouth.

Signalling was his speciality and Arthur was posted to 6 Assault Squadron based on HMS Albion.

Soon he was off on operations in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

The car crash brought all that to a shuddering halt. But only temporarily. On leaving the Marines in 2009, he took to flying, determined his disability wouldn’t stop him becoming a pilot. Which he did with the aid of the British Disabled Flying Association.

Following a trial flight he went solo after only nine hours and went on to gain his national private pilot’s licence.

Arthur said: “If sports presenting doesn’t work out I can always go back to being a commercial pilot.”

But for the moment the adrenalin rush of live broadcasting is excitement enough.

He said: “I heard about it through one of my mates and decided to have a go. I’m a fairly confident sort of bloke and I’ve always been pretty good at talking. There’s a lot of pressure but I’m used to it. I learned how to cope with that in the Marines.”

Now aged 25, Arthur had been shortlisted from hundreds in a talent search by Channel 4 to find new faces to present next year’s Paralympic Games. He is one of 11 new presenters selected for further development and was one of six to be given their first chance to present at the Paralympic World Cup.

He said: “I had three and a half hours live. It was brilliant. I’d love to do it full time.”

Channel 4 will be broadcasting the Paralympic Games for the first time next year and as part of the company’s pledge to bring disability sport to a mainstream audience and add editorial insight and authenticity to the coverage, it has committed to at least 50 per cent of its on screen talent for the games coverage being disabled.

The TV company launched its Half Million Quid Talent Search last September and hopefuls from around the country were asked to apply by submitting YouTube videos. From the hundreds of online entries, Channel 4 shortlisted 12 to take part in a fiveday boot camp, run by ThinkBIGGER at the National Film & Television School, which tested candidates’ potential as presenters and reporters.

After the first boot camp six people were selected to be taken forward and developed as presenting/reporting talent for Channel 4, through further specialist training and a series of work placements involving broadcasters and sports production companies including BBC, ITV, Sky, Five, IMG, SunsetVine, North One, ESPN and Perform.

Alison Walsh, disability director at Channel 4, said: “An important part of our Paralympic coverage is our determination to give our onscreen teams real credibility and insight by including presenters and reporters with personal experience of disability and disability sport and sports journalism.

“The Paralympics are a perfect platform for our passion to develop disabled talent both behind and in front of the camera.”

So Arthur Williams is on his way.

“I’d like to be like Craig Doyle,” he said. Although Mr Doyle would probably settle for Arthur’s drive, determination and strength of character.

We wish him well.