Three-times champion national hunt jockey Richard Dunwoody is backing a new social networking site for people affected by spinal cord injuries.

MySpine.org is being launched by charity Spinal Research on 14 May at the Houses of Parliament, during the same week as Spinal Injuries Awareness Day — which is on 16 May.

Richard, who suffered a spinal injury while riding, said: “I have suffered, as have many close friends of mine, from varying forms of near miss spinal injuries and paralysis whilst riding.

“Anyone who is involved in riding should understand that it only takes one nasty fall for your life to be changed forever.

“A site like MySpine.org can play a really important role in connecting people with spinal injuries. I am honoured to be supporting the launch.”

Approximately 40,000 people in the UK suffer paralysis as a result of injury to their spinal cord and more than 1,000 people will be affected each year.

Jonathan Miall, chief executive of Spinal Research, said: “Spinal injuries are more common than people think, and few people realise just how close many people come to it — for every one person with a spinal cord injury, an estimated six others narrowly miss being paralysed.

“For all those affected by spinal cord injury, an online community provides a useful platform to share experiences and hear from people who have been through the same thing.

“We believe this resource will be invaluable and will sustain people through what is likely to have been a traumatic experience. We hope it will provide an ongoing source of support.”

Other celebrities joining Richard to support MySpine are jump jockey JP McNamara who broke his neck in a fall in April 2006, ex-England under 21s rugby player Matt Hampson, Norwich City footballer Dion Dublin, adventurer Bear Grylls, Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opic and snowboarder Sam Cullen.

For more information visit: www.myspine.org