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One of Countrysidelove's most high profile success stories was Claire Lomas

Claire Lomas - who was paralysed in a riding accident in 2007, but has since done truly incredible things, including getting married to Dan, who she met on Countrysidelove in 2008, having a baby, and walking the London Marathon was chosen to light the Paralympic cauldron on the north terrace of Trafalgar Square at 8am on 24 August. She was flanked by Boris and Seb, as well as the Scouts who brought from Scafell Pike.

Claire dreamed of competing in the Olympics until she had a freak riding accident which left her paralysed. For some people riding is nothing more than a hobby but for Claire being on horseback made her feel more alive than anything else in the world. "From the moment I first got into the saddle as a little girl I was hooked," says Claire. "First and foremost riding was about fun but I loved the thrill of competing too and it was always my ambition to reach the very top."

Her focus and determination saw her competing extensively until in May 2007, as she was competing in the Osberton Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire, the course of Claire's life changed in a matter of moments. "My horse Rolled Oats accidentally clipped his shoulder against a tree and as I fell I was thrown against it," she recalls. "Instinctively, I knew I'd sustained a very serious injury and strangely my first feeling was annoyance rather than fear."

"I had no sensation in my legs and I understood exactly what that meant," she says. "My parents bought me a laptop and I soon discovered that only five per cent of people with spinal cord injuries walk again."

Claire's problems got worse when her relationship with her existing boy friend came to an end - "I knew deep down he was staying with me only because he felt sorry for me and that undermined my confidence."

At that stage she decided to join Countrysidelove and very quickly started chatting online to Dan. "He was very interesting and he seemed completely unfazed by the fact I was in a wheelchair," she recalls. They met at a pub in Oxford, and hit it off straight away. 

www.get-claire-walking.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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