Coast to coast challenge for Barnoldswick ex-Paralympian

Mark Brown (52), from Barnoldswick, lost his arm in a motorbike accident while serving with 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment. He is cycling 140 miles Coast to Coast for Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans. (S)

Mark Brown (52), from Barnoldswick, lost his arm in a motorbike accident while serving with 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment. He is cycling 140 miles Coast to Coast for Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans. (S)

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A former Barnoldswick Paralympian is one of five disabled veterans preparing to cycle 140 miles for charity.

Mark Brown’s challenge will begin on Monday and in three days the team of 16, including two on hand-bikes, will cover a gruelling Coast to Coast ride from Morecambe in the West and ending in Filey in the East.

Mr Brown (52), of Kelbrook Road, lost his arm after a motorbike accident in Shropshire in 1982 while driving back to barracks where he was based serving with 1st Battalion Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

He spent 12 months in hospital and is forever grateful to Blesma for the support they provided to both him and his family.

The charity ride for Blesma will be passing through Ingleton, Hawes, Redmire, Leyburn, Thirsk and Malton before the finish on Filey’s seafront.

Mr Brown said: “Not only do Blesma support the individual but they support the whole family.

“They offer financial and emotional support, through welfare advice and through a range of events that help to rebuild lives.

“Blesma is totally self-funded and receives no government support. I just wanted to give something back and encourages more to give. For every man killed in action, there will be 10 limbless.”

Between Mr Brown and his four fellow injured veterans, the team have already collected £4,500 but are determined to do more.

The former Paralympic marathon runner, who won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics and silver in the 2000 Sydney Games, ended his decade long running career with the Mount Everest marathon in 2005.

He took up cycling with the Barnoldswick Clarion Cycling Club to maintain his fitness and the idea for the Coast to Coast charity ride came around on a soldier ride abroad last year.

Mr Brown added: “We were doing a battlefield ride in Belgium in October last year and the idea was suggested.

“Before we knew it five became seven and now we are up to 16. The aim is to start and finish as a team and raise as much money as we can which is what it is all about.”

For more information and to donate, go to Mr Brown’s charity page by visiting www.justgiving.com/mark-brown48/