Heaven & Hell: Simon Kindleysides

Simon Kindleysides with his family

Simon Kindleysides with his family - Credit: Simon Kindleysides

Inspirational is just one word to sum up 36-year-old Simon from Blofield. Diagnosed with a neurological disorder and brain tumour in 2013 which left him paralysed from the waist down, Simon became the fastest man to complete the London Marathon in a robotic walking suit in 2013, and this year raised thousands of pounds for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Charity, walking 125 miles in his ReWalk exoskeleton. Here he talks to Gina Long.

Q: How has Covid-19 impacted your life and how are you adapting?

A: I was struggling with my mental health before all these lock downs had happened. Then it have just got all too much for me, so I’m suffering mentally.

Q: What is your connection to East Anglia?

A: I was born in Norwich in the old Norfolk & Norwich Hospital in 1984. I’ve lived here all my life.


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Q: What is your East Anglian Heaven i.e. what do you love most about East Anglia?

A: What I love about Norwich is the history behind it, even though when you're born here you take it all for granted. I love the fact that Norwich is known for great buskers.

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I love busking in Norwich it have a great vibe surrounded by nice people.

Q: What is your East Anglian Hell i.e. what you hate most about living here?

A: How cobbled some of the streets are,  like Gentleman’s Walk. It's not great for wheelchairs.

Q: What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?

A: Bella Italia and Cosmos.

Q: What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

A: The castle is so magical 

Q: What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

A: The Lord Mayor's procession, Norwich Pride, and Sundown festival.

Q: What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

A: Music I would say.

Q: What is always in your fridge?

A: Lemonade.

Q: What’s your simple philosophy of life?

A: There’s no such thing as can’t.

Q: What’s your favourite film?

A: Oh that’s a tough one but probably Armageddon, or Titanic.

Q: What was your first job?

A: Bagging up potatoes into 5kg bags. I don’t miss doing that in the cold.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: I would have to say my exo skeleton suit.

Q: Who do you admire most?

A: My children and my dad.

Q: What is your biggest indulgence?

A: I love chocolate. 

Q: What do you like about yourself most?

A: My bright blue eyes.

Q: What’s your worst character trait?

A: I’m very stubborn and I like to have the last say.

Q: Where is your favourite holiday destination?

A: Somewhere hot with a crystal clear sea...Great Yarmouth! Or Greece!

Q: Best day of your life?

A: It happened three times for me, when my children were born.

Q: What’s your favourite breakfast?

A: Crunchy Nut cornflakes.

Q: What’s your favourite tipple?

A: I shouldn’t drink alcohol but when I do it's a vodka cocktail.

Q: What’s your hidden talent?

A: I can whistle and hum at the same time.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?

A: Having a clown at my sixth birthday party. It scared me so much that I still have a phobia of clowns today.

Q: What would you like played at your funeral?

A: A voice recording of me talking and singing a song.

Q: Tell us something people don’t know about you?

A: I was in a Steps Tribute group and of course I was H.

Q: What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

A: I get hassled loads by internet trolls on my social media platforms.Two of the worst have been: “I hope your brain tumour burst in your head and kill you.” and “I’m going to find out where you live and kidnap your children."

Q: Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

A: I love to visit other cities/countries but I do like coming back as I feel like I’m at home here.

Q: What do you want to tell our readers about most?

A: I have an inoperable brain tumour and neurological condition. Life is far too short, so don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, next month.. life is far too short, so book it in NOW. Your life could turn upside down over night like it did mine, There are so many things I wish I had done when I was able-bodied. Remember, there's no such thing as can't.

If you have a story, email gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow Twitter: @geewizzgee1 Instagram: @ginalong_geewizz

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