An amputee and former Captain of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment will this week embark on a 2000km endurance cycle, covering the length of the UK, to raise funds for limbless veterans charity Blesma.
Stuart Croxford joined the British Army in 2007, and during his time in service, was deployed on three operational tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2012, Stuart suffered severe injuries to his feet when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, and a subsequent accident in 2014 resulted in his right leg being amputated below the knee.
Determined not to let his injury hold him back, Stuart qualified as a BASI Ski Instructor only four months post amputation, and since then has had undertaken many more major challenges, pushing the limits of life and endurance.
He went on to complete a full Ironman, the London Marathon, and numerous 100-mile cycling challenges, before now setting his sights on this 2000km charity cycle.
Starting today (May 9), the challenge will take Stuart from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, through 21 counties of England, Wales and Scotland.
He will cycle up to 20 hours per day through Truro, Exmoor National Park, Quantock Hills, Bristol, Brecon Beacons National Park, Manchester, Yorkshire Dales, Stirling and Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve.
Stuart said: “Riding for this distance and duration with little rest would push an able-bodied rider to their extreme both physically and mentally. As an amputee this will add extra stress and factors I will need to think about and overcome daily. I’ve never put this amount of stress through my residual limb and prosthetic so will be riding into the unknown.
“To complete this challenge, I’ll have to rely hugely on my own resilience to pull myself through some very challenging times. My motivation will come from the knowledge that funds will be raised for a fantastic charity who provides lifetime support to Veterans and their families suffering from loss of limb or sight loss.”
Stuart’s support vehicle during the challenge will be an electric defender called the Croxford Defender, which was developed by electric vehicle company AVA in his honour.
Inspired by Stuart’s story and designed to take on the toughest of terrains, the vehicle itself was built in cooperation with Stuart, with bespoke interiors reflecting his life.
AVA founder Norman Crowley said: “The AVA Croxford Defender celebrates Stuart’s remarkable story of resilience and positivity. The vehicle is AVA’s tribute to Stuart’s incredible courage and determination in the face of adversity.”
This challenge will raise vital funds for Blesma who are dedicated to assisting serving and ex-service men and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss and loss of use of limb.
Blesma, celebrates its 90-year anniversary this year, currently supports 3,000 members including limbless and injured veterans and their widows, to lead independent and fulfilling lives, by providing emotional, practical and financial support.
Stuart, who has been a trustee of Blesma since 2020, hopes the cycle will raise £50,000 for the charity, and members of the public can donate through his JustGiving.
You can also follow Stuart's progress live once the challenge begins here.