Chinese trekkers! Andy’s a winner

PUBLISHED: 13:01 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:52 12 May 2010

Andy is greeted by his faithful labrador Henry - 1955DW6

Andy is greeted by his faithful labrador Henry - 1955DW6

A DISABLED man has completed a challenging ride through northern Beijing in memory of his late partner – and broke his fund-raising target. Andy Lee travelled 400 km in his powered wheelchair and took part in the 2006 China Bike Ride alongside more than 5

A DISABLED man has completed a challenging ride through northern Beijing in memory of his late partner - and broke his fund-raising target.

Andy Lee travelled 400 km in his powered wheelchair and took part in the 2006 China Bike Ride alongside more than 50 other able-bodied and disabled riders in Beijing.

Mr Lee, 43, described the gruelling eight-day trip as some of the most physically challenging days of his life.

He said: "Overall this was a fantastic experience and throughout the journey I couldn't believe what I was doing.

"I never thought I would be able to take part in something as big as this."

Twelve years ago, Mr Lee was involved in a bike accident.

He was flipped over the handlebars and despite wearing a helmet, broke his neck, leaving his arms and legs paralysed. Doctors said he was lucky to be alive.

Before his accident Mr Lee, of Town Green Road, Orwell, regularly took part in organised bike rides.

He said: "I was a keen cyclist, and being among all those other cyclists again brought back some strong memories.

"I used to do the London to Brighton bike rides, but they don't even come close to this.

"This was seriously exhausting - it was like doing the London to Brighton five days on the spin. I was used to the races being physical on my legs, but this was extremely physical on my upper body.

"But after a while the physical demands were forgotten about as the camaraderie of the trip took over. There was a real team spirit between everyone, and everybody involved was extremely supportive. I met some wonderful people and as a result of the experience I have made a lot of good friends."

Mr Lee's journey started in Mutianyu and finished in Sygiman Square.

He said: "The Beijing province is very beautiful and it has some wonderful sites that have unbelievable architecture. We rode along the Great Wall and the only way I can describe that is breathtaking.

"And I couldn't think of a better place to finish than the square, and crossing that finish line is something that I will never forget - it was a very emotional moment.

"I just wish that my partner Sally was around to be part of it all. I did this for her and I know that she would have been very proud of me. She was in my thoughts from the beginning and I am sure she was with me every inch of the way."

Before the trip Mr Lee had set a fund-raising total of £5,000.

That figure now stands at £6,500 and will go to the Regain charity - which supports people who have suffered spinal injuries in leisure and sporting accidents.

Mr Lee said: "I'm so grateful for everybody's support and donations. They've helped me raise a fantastic sum, well beyond what I had ever expected.

"Regain has been incredible to me and has really helped turn my life around. To be able to give them something back and help others in a similar position is great."

- Anyone who would like to support Mr Lee's fundraising should visit the website www.justgiving.com/ridechina.

For more information on spinal injuries go to www.spinal-injury.net

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