Amputee Lee notches up two world rowing records!
Amputee Lee Spencer, whose row of the Atlantic nearly came to grief off the coast of the Canaries, has completed his marathon mission in double style!
The 49-year-old former Royal Marine Lee Spencer, 49, whose right leg was sliced off at the knee by flying debris when he stopped to help at the scene of a car crash on the M3, smashed two world records.
He became the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland America, as well as knocking 36 days off the able-bodied record for rowing the Atlantic, solo.
Lee left Portimao, Portugal on January 9th and had faced numerous obstacles, including an episode when he was forced to row using only a compass, map and hand-held GPS before coming in for an unscheduled pit stop in Gran Canaria for urgent repairs. His tiny boat was also circled by a shark during his 3,800-mile epic adventure when he battled huge waves, exhaustion, sleep deprivation and solitude.
Messages of support had poured in from celebrities such as Frank Bruno, Joey Essex, Ross Kemp and Gareth Southgate. His wife Claire and son Billy were among those who greeted him in Cayenn just after midnight.
Lee , who lives in Devon, was a Royal Marine for 24 years and survived three tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.
He lost his right leg from the knee down when he stopped to help a motorist on the M3 in 2014. He was hit by flying debris as he made his way to the stricken vehicle and his leg was severed in the impact. Despite his horrendous injury, he told another motorist how to make a tourniquet and even ordered the man’s young daughter to stand on his groin to block the bleeding artery.
Just a year later Lee set-off to row the Atlantic Ocean in 2015 in a team of four injured veterans, Row2Recovery. The team became the first British military all-amputee team of four to row an ocean.
“I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations,” he says. “It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. I feel passionately about raising awareness of this and challenging these preconceptions. Disabilities vary and they aren’t just physical. I hope to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me. ”
The double Guinness World Record attempt aimed to raise awareness and money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund, which supports wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.