Amputee in Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle challenge for limbless veterans' charity
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An amputee ex-serviceman who was seriously injured in Afghanistan is setting off today on a 2000km endurance cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Stuart Croxford (36) is raising funds for Blesma, the limbless veterans' charity, and hopes to arrive at Groats on Wednesday, May 18.
A former captain of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Stuart 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, which he completed four months post-amputation.
Stuart went on to complete a full Ironman, the London Marathon and numerous 100-mile cycling challenges.
This 2000km charity cycle will take Stuart from Land’s End to John O’Groats, through 21 counties in England, Wales and Scotland. He will cycle up to 20 hours a day.
“Riding for this distance and duration with little rest would push an able-bodied rider to their extreme, both physically and mentally," Stuart said.
"As an amputee, this will add extra stress and factors I will need to think about and overcome daily. I’ve never put this amount of stress through my residual limb and prosthetic so will be riding into the unknown.
“To complete this challenge, I’ll have to rely hugely on my own resilience to pull myself through some very challenging times. My motivation will come from the knowledge that funds will be raised for a fantastic charity that provides lifetime support to veterans and their families suffering from loss of limb or sight loss.”
Inspired by Stuart’s story, electric vehicle company Ava developed the Croxford Defender in his honour. It will serve as the support vehicle, having been built in cooperation with Stuart.
Ava founder Norman Crowley said: “The Ava Croxford Defender celebrates Stuart’s remarkable story of resilience and positivity."
Blesma is dedicated to assisting serving and ex-servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss and loss of use of limb. The charity celebrates its 90-year 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.
He hopes the cycle challenge will raise £50,000 for the charity. Members of the public can donate through his JustGiving page.
Stuart's progress can also be followed here.