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Worlingham wheelchair-user hand-cycles 80 miles from Cambridge to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:07 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:07 03 October 2017

Andrew Darby, Mark Stevens, Howard Clarke and Dave Bloom who have cycled 80 miles for the Spinal Injuries Association. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby

Andrew Darby, Mark Stevens, Howard Clarke and Dave Bloom who have cycled 80 miles for the Spinal Injuries Association. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby

Courtesy of Andrew Darby

A wheelchair-user has hand-cycled a gruelling 80-mile route as he looks to prove anything is possible with perseverance and dedication.

Andrew Darby, Mark Stevens, Howard Clarke and Dave Bloom who have cycled 80 miles for the Spinal Injuries Association. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby Andrew Darby, Mark Stevens, Howard Clarke and Dave Bloom who have cycled 80 miles for the Spinal Injuries Association. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby

Andrew Darby, of Worlingham has been using a wheelchair since May 2011, when a horrific motorcycle accident near Brundall left him paralysed from the waist down.

The 34-year-old was left devastated by the life-changing accident, however, after an attitude adjustment he has conquered a demanding physical challenge.

Along with three friends - Mark Stevens, Howard Clarke and Dave Bloom - he cycled an 80-mile course from Cambridge to Norwich.

The challenge was being held in support of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) who helped Mr Darby following his accident.

Andrew Darby of Worlingham, who hand cycled from Cambridge to Norwich. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby Andrew Darby of Worlingham, who hand cycled from Cambridge to Norwich. Picture: Courtesy of Andrew Darby

He said: “The ride took us five hours and 45 minutes to do, so needless to say we are all very sore now, but I think it was a great statement to be able to make about overcoming adversity.

“The event was a great opportunity to really put myself to the test and it is probably my greatest ever achievement.”

Mr Darby, of Brookwood Close, set himself a target of raising £500 for the SIA, but to date has more than doubled that amount.

The charity offered him a great deal of support in the wake of his accident, including offering advise, support and counselling.

He added: “I’m the first to admit that after the accident I was a bit of a mess - I essentially felt around four years sulking about it.

“However, with the help of SIA and another charity called Back Up, I’ve been able to change my attitude and refresh myself.

“I used to have quite a physical job and a physical lifestyle so to become a wheelchair-user was very tough, but now I’m refusing to let it hold me back.”

He has since returned to college, where he is taking evening classes in English, maths and counselling.

He added: “I’ve noticed people admire you and give you more respect if you just carry on with life, so that is what I have now decided to do.

“I’ve found that I enjoy helping people through their troubles and spreading positivity, which is what I’m hoping to do.”

So far, he has raised £1,295 for SIA and is still collecting donations on his Just Giving page.

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