Most people are less than happy to be working at Christmas, but John Stirling from the United Kingdom was thrilled to be back at his desk just 10 weeks after cutting off his arm with a chainsaw in a gardening accident.

Stirling, 59, who described his swift recovery as a 'miracle', has surprised doctors with the speed at which his arm has healed, allowing him to get back to work as manager of Newhaven marina in time for the Christmas party season.

“It was delightful because it’s a very social job and I can participate in the festive spirit,” he told The Times Monday. Stirling was cutting back a tree in his garden when he slipped and cut off his left arm below the elbow in September.

“When the arm was gone I realized that to survive I had to stem the bleeding,” he said. “I was so preoccupied with surviving that I discounted the arm. I left it on the lawn and thought, ‘That’s the last I’ll see of that’.”

A team of 12 surgeons at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex in England, reattached the limb in two operations lasting a total of almost 18 hours. Stirling returned home two weeks later.

“It’s quite surprising the things you take for granted — like tying a shoelace for one,” he said. “Some things take a bit of thinking about, like pulling your trousers up.”

Stirling already has some movement in his fingers and can pick up large objects with two hands, which he said is “incredibly promising.”

Click here to read more and see photos from The Times.