10 years on from her terrible accident and Claire Lomas is only looking forwards

The riders set off on their way to Wistow on Claire Lomas' Ride2Recovery charity rideout EMN-170805-163416001
The riders set off on their way to Wistow on Claire Lomas' Ride2Recovery charity rideout EMN-170805-163416001
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It was exactly 10 years ago on Saturday that Claire Lomas sustained catastrophic life-changing injuries in a horse eventing accident.

But she is not looking back at the moment when she was left paralysed from the chest down.

The riders set off on their way to Wistow on Claire Lomas' Ride2Recovery charity rideout EMN-170805-163428001

The riders set off on their way to Wistow on Claire Lomas' Ride2Recovery charity rideout EMN-170805-163428001

Instead, Claire is looking forward as the inspirational woman who has since raised more than £500,000 for charity, been awarded an MBE and given birth to two daughters.

She said: “I do remember straight after the accident and knowing that I was paralysed.

“I thought I had lost everything.

“But now I don’t spend time looking back at what happened because I spend so much time planning things and thinking ahead.

Claire Lomas crosses the finish line in her robotic suit during the Great North Run in Newcastle EMN-171005-165651001

Claire Lomas crosses the finish line in her robotic suit during the Great North Run in Newcastle EMN-171005-165651001

“I don’t live for a cure to be found because I am happy as I am.

“I do believe there will be a cure for paralysis, though, and I will continue raising money to help achieve it.”

Claire was back raising money on Sunday.

More than 120 motorcycle riders took part in her latest Ride2Recovery rideout, from her Eye Kettleby home to Wistow, where a raffle was held and refreshments served.

Claire led the procession away at the start on her specially-adapted motorbike on a day when more than £1,000 was raised for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF), the cause she has supported throughout.

There was even a poignant surprise meeting with one of the ICU nurses who treated her at the Queen’s Medical Centre, in Nottingham, in the days immediately after her accident.

“That really made my week because the treatment I had there was unbelievable,” said Claire.

“She said I stayed positive even in the early days although I remember having a lot of bad days.

“There was no single moment when I began feeling more positive about my life.

“I just began having more good days than bad days.”

While lying in her hospital bed in those early days she never imagined she would walk the London Marathon course in a robotic suit five years later, handcycle 400 miles around the UK and, last year, complete the Great North Run course in her special suit, while 16 weeks pregnant.

Claire recalled: “The marathon was the biggest thing I’ve done, but the Great North Run was the toughest, because of the hills and the heat and being pregnant as well.

“There have been lots of special moments like going into schools to speak and seeing how the children react.”

Claire says she doesn’t believe she has changed much as a person now compared to 10 years ago, when she was a talented top level eventer.

“I’ve changed since the early days of my accident when I was very low on confidence,” she recalled.

“I was very embarrassed to be in a wheelchair, but now I feel a lot more confident.

“I can now speak in front of hundreds of people which is something I never thought I would be able to do.”

Claire jokes about how she met Dan on the internet and ‘found a husband for £20’.

Baby Chloe was born in January to join the couple’s other daughter, Maisie (5).

Her advice for anyone else who suffers paralysis is: “It takes time to come to terms with your injury.

“But don’t be too hard on yourself and push yourself to take opportunities.”