Former eventer Claire Lomas has passed the half a million mark in her fundraising efforts.
Claire, who was paralysed from the chest down in a fall at Osberton in 2007, has now raised more than £500,000 for charity the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.
“This landmark came earlier than I’d expected, thanks to everyone’s generosity at The Dressage Convention at the weekend (17-18 October),” Claire told H&H.
“Richard Davison [who organised the event with Carl Hester] asked me if I would like to fundraise there but I never thought I’d get over the £500,000 mark thanks to it.”
£5,035 was raised at the event from raffle prizes and donations.
“The whole event was brilliant and I’m so grateful to everyone involved. It’s really exciting,” she added.
Since her accident Claire has completed several challenges including walking the London Marathon in a special robot suit and a hand-cycle around England.
“I set a target for £10,000 for the marathon, and I managed to raise £50,000,” she added. “After that it was harder but I’m so thrilled to have got this far.
“At the start of the year I was on £400,000 so to have raised this much is amazing and I’m really pleased.”
Her next fundraiser is a “Boarding Bedlam” surfboarding challenge on 14 November in Leicester where hunts, eventers, showjumpers, vets and farriers will go up against each other.
The money raised goes to the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation helping to fund research into curing paralysis.
Claire’s also been keeping busy by riding a motorbike and aims to get her racing licence.
“I’ve been really lucky and am allowed to train at Mallory Park,” she said. “It’s nerve racking — a bit like eventing you don’t love it before you set off but then it’s amazing.
“I’d love to race though and that’s the ultimate aim.”
Claire began on a 125cc bike, before progressing to an 850cc one. She’s now on her husband Dan’s bike.
“It just needed hand controls and a bit of Velcro,” she said. “You wouldn’t even know I’m paralysed when I’m on the bike, but it’s a bit weird as I can only feel the handlebars.
“I had to have stabilisers to start with, as my balance wasn’t great, but I soon got the hang of it.
“I get on from the wheelchair and someone holds the bike to start me off and then helps me at the end.”
For more information visit: www.claireschallenge.co.uk