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Amputee ex-serviceman Stuart Croxford battles severe exhaustion to complete 2000km cycle challenge


By Alan Hendry

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Stuart Croxford after arriving at John O’Groats. He said the 2000km cycle challenge from Land’s End had been 'a huge test of physical and mental endurance'.
Stuart Croxford after arriving at John O’Groats. He said the 2000km cycle challenge from Land’s End had been 'a huge test of physical and mental endurance'.

Amputee ex-serviceman Stuart Croxford admitted his 2000km cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats had taken its toll physically and mentally as he completed the epic journey this morning.

He embarked on the charity challenge on May 9 and cycled up to 20 hours a day, often sleeping outdoors.

After arriving at Groats, Stuart (36) said he had experienced severe exhaustion along the way but was determined to keep pushing on.

He is raising funds for Blesma, a charity that provides limbless and injured veterans with lifelong support.

He is a former captain of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

“The GB divide definitely isn’t for the faint of heart," Stuart said. "From the relentless weather, steep inclines and washed-out trails, it takes a toll on your body and bike. Now imagine doing that on four hours' sleep a night.

“The cycle has been a huge test of physical and mental endurance. At times it has involved sleeping out under the stars.

"Despite severe exhaustion at times, I kept pushing through, knowing we are raising funds for a fantastic charity.”

Stuart was joined for part of the journey by triple Paralympic medallist Jaco van Gass, who cycled 150km with him from the edge of Snowdonia National Park to Manchester.

Stuart Croxford on day seven of his 2000km cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of a charity that supports limbless and injured veterans.
Stuart Croxford on day seven of his 2000km cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of a charity that supports limbless and injured veterans.

Stuart joined the British Army in 2007 as an officer. During his six years in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment he was deployed on three operational tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2012, he suffered severe injuries to his feet when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. A subsequent accident in 2014 resulted in his right leg being amputated below the knee.

Determined not to let his injury hold him back, he set his sights on qualifying as a ski instructor, and he completed this four months post-amputation.

Stuart went on to complete a full Ironman, the London Marathon and numerous 100-mile cycling challenges.

Electric vehicle company Ava developed the Croxford Defender in his honour. It served as the support vehicle, having been built in cooperation with Stuart.

Stuart with the Ava Croxford Defender.
Stuart with the Ava Croxford Defender.

Blesma assists servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss and loss of use of limb. The charity celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

It supports 3000 members to lead independent and fulfilling lives by providing emotional, practical and financial support. Stuart has been a trustee of Blesma since 2020.

Stuart hopes the cycle challenge will raise £50,000 for the charity. Members of the public can donate through his JustGiving page.


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