A young man, whose life was nearly ended by a very serious motor vehicle accident on the Somerley Road just outside Ringwood in 2009 has set out this week to cycle to Paris.
Chris West, now aged 21, plans to raise funds for Basics Hampshire as he owes his life to Dr Sarah Assheton - who lives in Ringwood - who was able to operate at the roadside and provide care beyond that which could be provided by paramedics alone.
Basics Hampshire is a registered charity made up from qualified and experienced doctors who in their spare time supplement the work of paramedics by attending severe trauma cases that occur in the community to stabilise the victim long enough to make the trip to hospital for life saving care.
The challenge is a mammoth task for Chris who is still recovering from the devastating damage caused by the crash. Chris suffered horrendous injuries and was never expected to walk or talk again. He spent eight months in hospital and continues to have operations to try and repair some of the damage sustained five years ago. He has been left with impaired sight, impaired cognitive reflexes and a great deal of uncertainty about his future.
Stephen Sherring, president for Ringwood & Fordingbridge Lions Club, who are helping support Chris with sponsorship for his ride commented: “Having met Chris recently and hearing first hand about his story of recovery I was struck and inspired by his positive attitude, his courage and determination to move on with his life and try and repay the debt to the charity that ultimately saved his life. As a club all of our members were keen to support his fundraising and the work of Basics Hampshire.”
Giles Bennett has organised the ride with nine other riders.
Anyone who is inspired by Chris’s story can see the details of the trip at http://www.hermitagecycling.co.uk or sponsor him through the justgiving fundraising page of Giles Bennett http://www.justgiving.com/hermitagetoparis.
Anyone who is simply interested in finding out a bit more about the charity that saved his life can find further details at http://www.basicshampshire.co.uk.