Horse & Hound blog: A wet walk with Claire Lomas

  • It was wet, very, very wet – but Claire Lomas (pictured right of pic) was still smiling and continued to do so all day, despite obviously being extremely weary.

    H&H newswriter Amy Mathieson and I joined the paralysed eventer yesterday, on day four of her efforts to walk the London Marathon in a robotic suit.

    It was probably the wettest day London has seen for five years.

    And as we made our way to the reconditioned Cutty Sark in Greenwich, south east London the rain was coming down in buckets.

    Earlier in the day Claire had rung to tell us she understood if we’d prefer to come on a drier day – how could we!

    So we joined Claire in Nandos, where she was sheltering from the worst of the weather and waiting for BBC presenter Clare Balding, BBC World Service radio and a local BBC TV crew to join her for the next leg of her journey.

    Claire is one of just two people in the UK to use the Re-Walk suit – a powered exoskeleton that allows the wearer to walk with crutches.

    The Re-Walk is designed by Israeli company Argo Medical Technologies and distributed in the UK and Ireland by Yorkshire-based Cyclone Technologies.

    The Cyclone team has supported Claire on her marathon effort – literally, as one of a three-strong team – today Matt – has walked behind Claire, holding onto her hips the whole way.

    Also walking with Claire yesterday was eventer Gemma Tattersall (left of top pic).

    Gemma told H&H: “I didn’t know Claire personally before, but last year Ruth Mathieson, who was leasing a horse from me, had a fall and seriously injured her spine.

    “It brought it home to me how easily it can happen and when I heard Claire was doing this I wanted to support her.”

    After four days of walking Claire passed the seven-mile mark in a walk that will take her and her support team of friends, family and staff from the Spinal Research charity more than two weeks to complete.

    “It’s really difficult but my technique is improving,” said Claire, “and I hope to walk over the finish line completely unaided.

    “I have been amazed by the support I have received so far – it’s been absolutely unbelievable, with people like Clare [Balding] coming along today, Tim Henman, Matt Pinsent and loads more people signed up to come out.”

    Clare walked nearly a mile with Claire and declared her “amazing”.

    “She never stops smiling,” she said. “Really inspirational!”

    Claire Lomas intends to raise at least £50,000 for Spinal Research. Today her fundraising reached the £30,000 mark.

    To sponsor Claire, go to www.justgiving.com/Claire-Lomas or text legs60 £(amount), to 70070.

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