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Meet Claire Lomas MBE.
Claire’s life turned upside down on 6th May 2007 when she became paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident. She focused on her rehab and over time found strength and courage to rebuild her life by finding new interests.
Claire felt lucky as she still had the use of her arms. She decided to do whatever she could to help raise money for the research into spinal cord injuries. She has found numerous ways to raise money from organising evening events, collecting at racecourses, from her book, school visits, the road2recovery event series, taking on challenges in the robotic suit and online auctions. To date, she has raised over £850,000 through various challenges. In 2017, she was awarded an MBE for her stellar fundraising efforts.
Find out more about Claire and her inspirational story below.
I started speaking in schools on a fundraising handcycling challenge. Then I started to be invited into the corporate world and it soon became my career, travelling around the UK and overseas. I love it yet at school I hated speaking in front of the class.
What advice can you give someone who is lacking confidence and motivation in life?
When I walked the London Marathon it took me 17 days. At times, 26.2 miles was daunting but I could always make it to the next lamppost, so I broke it down to lots of small goals and finally reached my ultimate goal - the finish line!
Always remember YOU can usually get to the next lamppost.
Also, horses taught me to be disciplined and commitment. Even on Christmas Day I had to look after my horses first. I couldn't say 'I can't be bothered". It taught me so much as a child. We can't feel motivated all the time but we can be disciplined.
You have been taking part in so many amazing challenges, whilst raising a phenomenal amount of money for charity, what has been the hardest so far and have you had a favourite one and do you have anything else in the pipeline?
They are all so different. The marathons are slow and needed perseverance. Some other challenges like flying and riding a powerful motorbike have really tested my nerves! I have a 10k team challenge coming up (I will push in my every day wheelchair) and I am doing plenty of charity flights this summer raising money for various charities.
What do you do in your spare time & what do you get up to offline?
I am a busy mum to two girls so between working, fundraising and family time - there isn't a lot of spare time. I love to keep fit and healthy so I am often seen out handcycling. I am also flying as often as possible to gain experience.
What is your ultimate Hiho love (favourite piece from the Hiho collection) and why?
I love the horseshoe and heart sterling silver necklace. The horseshoe to bring some luck whilst doing the challenges and the heart because we all need lots of love in our lives - and it was love from my family and friends that got me through the toughest of times!