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Paraplegic marathon man to stand proud at his wedding after £80,000 anonymous donation

PUBLISHED: 09:50 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:09 29 May 2018

Simon Kindleysides with photos from the marathon, medals and letter from The Queen. Picture: Marc Betts

Simon Kindleysides with photos from the marathon, medals and letter from The Queen. Picture: Marc Betts

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A marathon is a challenge to the fittest of athletes but one Norfolk man has become the first paralysed man to complete the London Marathon.

Simon Kindleysides received a letter from the Queen in congratulations for becoming the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc BettsSimon Kindleysides received a letter from the Queen in congratulations for becoming the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc Betts

The first paralysed man to complete the London Marathon has been “blown away” after an anonymous donor has put forward £80,000 to buy a special suit that will enable him to stand at his wedding.

Simon Kindleysides, 34, from Blofield, and his partner Jenna Winyard, 29, made a three year plan to raise money for the ReWalk suit.

ReWalk is a bionic walking assistance system that uses powered leg attachments to enable paraplegics to stand upright, walk and climb stairs.

Mr Kindleysides said: “It is hard to digest. When I found out it was like ‘okay yeah I have been promised stuff before’.

Wearing robotic legs lent for the challenge, Simon Kindleysides has become the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Now he's raising funds for his own exo-skeleton robotic legs. Picture: Simon KindleysidesWearing robotic legs lent for the challenge, Simon Kindleysides has become the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Now he's raising funds for his own exo-skeleton robotic legs. Picture: Simon Kindleysides

“Then they got in touch with ReWalk. It blew me away.”

He added: “I rang Jenna and told her and she was gobsmacked and the family were a mess - it was just too much to take in.

“There is still no rush [to get married] but now I know I have a suit I can do what I have got to do rather than being sat in a wheelchair.

“I can say thank you a billion times but that won’t make up for the gift he has allowed me to have.”

Simon Kindleysides became the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc BettsSimon Kindleysides became the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc Betts

Mr Kindleysides was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder and a glioma brain tumour in 2013, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

He completed the London Marathon over two days in 27.5 hours becoming the first paralysed man to finish the famous race as well as the world’s fastest ReWalk walker.

Mr Kindleysides said: “I loved it - it was an enjoyable experience but a hard one. More mentally than physically I found.

“I was exhausted because I haven’t walked for five years or been upright for that long, it was about getting my brain to digest the fact I was standing up for that period of time.”

Simon Kindleysides became the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc BettsSimon Kindleysides became the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon. Picture: Marc Betts

The father of three added: “Walking through the night was a struggle because there were less people there to cheer you on. People driving past in their cars would give support but between two and three in the morning it was freezing.

“We had gone from the hottest marathon day in history, absolutely sweating our pants off to walking across Tower Bridge with the wind howling.”

Mr Kindleysides has raised more than £29,000 for Brain Tumour Charity. There is now talk about a book about him being made as well as a documentary.


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