Brave Zara nears completion of latest inspirational challenge

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown at Old Buckenham Primary and Nursery School. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown in Norfolk ahead of a previous walk. - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

An inspirational woman who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash abroad more than five-and-a-half years ago is close to completing her latest mammoth challenge.

Back in September 2016, Zara Dyer - then aged 29 - was fighting for her life in hospital in the USA.

Now, having made a remarkable recovery from life-threatening injuries, she is a week away from completing a 500-mile West to East charity walk.

Ian Brown and Zara Dyer at the start of the Side to Side charity walk.

Ian Brown and Zara Dyer at the start of the Side to Side charity walk last month. - Credit: Ian Brown

Since May 3, Miss Dyer and her full time carer and partner Ian Brown, from Loddon, have been walking West to East - from St David's in Pembrokeshire on the west Wales coast to arrive at Ness Point in Lowestoft next weekend.

With the aim of completing 'One Million Steps to Raise One Million Pennies' for the Lowestoft-based registered charity 3 Million Steps - an organisation that supports sufferers of brain injuries and their carers - the inspirational walk is nearing its conclusion.

Ian Brown and Zara Dyer in Buckinghamshire as part of the Side to Side charity walk.

Ian Brown and Zara Dyer in Buckinghamshire as part of the Side to Side charity walk. - Credit: Ian Brown

Almost six years ago, Miss Dyer was working in the Caribbean as a scuba diving instructor.

She was making her way back to her home in Grand Cayman when she suffered a freak seizure at the wheel of her car that led to a horrific crash into a wall.

Zara Dyer in hospital, and completing the JOGLE challenge.

Zara Dyer in hospital, and after completing the JOGLE challenge. - Credit: Ian Brown

She suffered long-term brain damage, with her injuries - which included a broken neck, complete paralysis on her right hand side, fractures to her shoulder, back and upper part of her body and six bleeds on the brain - so severe that her family were warned they should fly out to see her immediately.

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After spending more than a month in hospital abroad, and having undergone an intensive programme of treatment and rehabilitation ever since - that saw her learn to swallow, walk and talk all over again - Miss Dyer is close to completing another amazing challenge.

After setting up the 3 Million Steps charity with Mr Brown, they set out on the JOGLE Challenge in 2019 - trekking from John O’Groats to Lands’ End across the length of the country.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after successfully completing two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft a couple of years ago. - Credit: Mick Howes

This proved so successful that they launched The Side to Side Challenge last month - and they are due to arrive at the most easterly point in Britain - Ness Point in Lowestoft - at 11.30am next Saturday, July 2.

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In recent days Miss Dyer and Mr Brown have walked through Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Stanton, with their scheduled route from Tuesday, June 28 to July 2 taking them from Roydon, Brockdish, Bungay and Beccles to eventually arrive in Lowestoft.

Mr Brown said: "The final leg of this charity walk will begin at 7.30am on Saturday, July 2 from Worlingham medical/pharmacy centre and walking into Carlton Colville, up to McDonald's at Gisleham, to Pakefield cliffs and along the seafront, over the Bascule Bridge, through Lowestoft, onto the sea wall at Hamilton Road, then up to Ness Point for about 11.30am."

Very proud dad Peter Dyer, a trustee of 3 Million Steps, said: "Zara is a very determined young lady who will always suffer some form of disability but she keeps smiling."

To pledge support and follow the fundraising walk, visit www.3millionsteps.org