He was told he might not walk, never mind achieve his ambition of carrying on the family’s fishing tradition.
But having lost his leg at the age of nine, Jack Sanderson’s determination has seen him not only make it to sea, but he is one step away from being crowned Britain’s top young fisherman.
He is in the final six in the Fishing News Awards and will find out if the judging panel has given him the title at a ceremony in Aberdeen in May.
Jack, who is 20, said: “I’m thrilled. Being a fisherman is something I have wanted to do for a long time but I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to walk again. There were times when I couldn’t see myself doing it but I wanted to carry on the family company and I am proud to be a fisherman.”
More than a decade ago, Jack was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, an extremely aggressive form of bone cancer.
He lost his hair, half of his weight and eventually he had to lose a leg. But now he works full-time on the crabber Perseverance II.
The citation for the awards shortlist said: “He gets on with his job and is always eager to learn. He uses a prosthetic leg and works hard as a crew member, never letting his situation impact on his ability to work or do anything. He is an outstanding role model to others.” Dad Pete, who is also his skipper on Perseverance II, said: “I’m certainly proud of him. It has been a long road for him and we never thought he would be able to go to sea.
“But to watch how he has overcome it all has been empowering.”
If Jack can claim the title, it would be the second year running that the trophy would be coming back to Bridlington, after Jordan Harrison won in 2017.
David Linkie, editor of Fishing News, said: “We are delighted to be able to recognise and reward the individuals and organisations whose achievements in their respective fields do so much for commercial fishing.”
“Fishing remains one of the UK’s most challenging occupations, with almost 12,000 fishermen setting out in all weathers to catch the wide range of fish and shellfish that form an important part of our daily diet.”