A Corby man says he is lucky to be alive after a terrifying accident on an African charity mission.
Property entrepreneur Alasdair Cunningham was white-water rafting on the River Nile in Uganda when his boat capsized in dangerous rapids, tipping everybody out.
He plunged down two waterfalls and was swept along the river for nearly a mile before being rescued.
Father-of-two Alasdair, director of Better Sourced Ltd, said he feared for his life as he was flung around in the churning water.
He said: “I really thought I would drown, but somehow I managed to keep my head above water and was rescued by one of the boats sent out by the rafting company.
“When they saw the raft go over they all thought there would be deaths.
“It was that serious.”
Alasdair, who was on a mission to help identify villages in need of fresh water, survived with bad bruising.
But others on the trip, including mission leader and millionaire property developer Samuel Leeds, weren’t so lucky.
He shattered his kneecap on rocks and had to undergo emergency surgery in Uganda after losing a quarter of his blood.
Alasdair said: “I was really upset seeing Samuel so badly hurt as he’s been my business guru and we have become really good friends.
“Samuel and I are partners in a property sourcing business that I run on a day-to-day basis.
“Samuel has recently been told by doctors he might never walk properly again, but I don’t think they have taken into account his incredible fighting spirit.
“He was incredibly brave and gave everyone involved in the mission a rousing pep talk from his hospital bed.
“He told us we had to carry on with the charity work because that’s what warriors do.”
Alasdair, who moved to Corby in 2015, was so rattled he initially considered abandoning his trip.
But after surviving the near-death experience his fortunes changed dramatically.
Barely a week later, the property entrepreneur was having dinner with his hero Robert Kiyosaki, author of the international best-selling business book Rich Dad Poor Dad.
And July also turned out to be the most successful month ever for Alasdair, making £27,000 during the month from sourcing houses all over the country for investors to buy.
Alasdair is so passionate about his business he even completed deals on his mobile phone in the back of a minibus, just days after the accident on the River Nile.
He was also one of the judges of a “Dragons’ Den” style event aimed at offering free business loans to local people with the best commercial ideas.
Alasdair first got a taste for the property world after making a £100,000 profit from selling his ex-council home in Bedfordshire under the tenant right to buy scheme.
Having previously run a commercial vehicle maintenance business, he then bought a franchise from a tools company but didn’t enjoy the type of business and handed in his notice.
In September last year he enrolled on the Property Investors Crash Course run by Samuel Leeds and went on to do further advanced training before sourcing properties for investors.
He is also building up his own portfolio which currently consists of three rental properties.
But the Corby man says its the charity work that gives him the most inspiration.
He said: “Samuel does a lot of charity work and seeing it for myself has inspired me.
“There has to be a bigger reason in your life than earning money.
“You’ve got to be able to do some good, not just have money.
“I want to find a bigger purpose to my life than just making money and looking after my immediate family.
“I’ve seen the work Samuel is doing in Africa and how drinking fresh water has made the children healthier.
“Uganda was an amazing experience for me.
“I feel lucky to have survived that accident, but I also saw people in real need and am determined to do good in my life too.”
Recovering at his home in Lichfield in Staffordshire, Samuel Leeds said Alasdair is probably the ‘best property deal sourcer’ in the country.
He said: “He’s an amazing person who has done so well in the property world that he is now in a position to help charities himself which is why I invited him to Uganda.
“He is a person of integrity – his word is his bond.“
In October Alasdair is taking on a new member of staff to cope with growing demand from investors in Britain and abroad, including Hong Kong, Bahrain and Switzerland.
He has also been invited to speak at events in London and other parts of the country to inspire others to follow his example.