A CYCLIST who lost the use of his arms and legs after a bike accident has made an incredible recovery that will allow him to attempt a charity challenge.
In August 2012 Ray Barker went over the handle bars of his bicycle damaging his neck and sending his spinal cord into shock.
He was left with paralysed arms and legs and was transferred to the spinal centre at Salisbury District Hospital for specialist treatment and rehabilitation.
Fortunately his injury was not permanent and he spent three months at the spinal centre re-learning how to walk.
Throughout his hospital stay Mr Barker spent lots of time in Horatio’s Garden, founded in memory of Salisbury teenager Horatio Chapple who was killed by a polar bear in 2011.
Mr Barker is now planning to take part in the Chalke Valley Cycle Ride to support the charity which aims to provide therapeutic gardens at other spinal treatment centres across the county.
“As I began to regain some mobility in my arms I was able to go to Horatio’s Garden in a wheelchair,” said Mr Barker.
“I tried to visit the garden everyday as it gave me an opportunity to go outside to a pleasant environment and look at the world outside the hospital ward.
“I remember the tears of joy when I was able to take a few steps with crutches outside in Horatio’s Garden. As I progressed, the garden allowed me to practice walking outside and build up my confidence and endurance.”
Mr Barker left hospital in December 2012 walking with a cane. He has continued to improve his strength and has got back on his bicycle with the support and encouragement of his wife, Sally. They will both be cycling 50 miles in the Chalke Valley cycle ride on Sunday, September 21 which will start and finish in Horatio’s Garden.
The event will be organised by Discover Adventure and there are 50 mile, 25 mile and one mile routes. Registration for the 25 and 50 mile routes costs £35 per person. Riders must be 14 years old or over and groups of up to six 14-17 year olds must be accompanied by one adult. Registration for the one mile route is free. For more information, visit horatiosgarden.org.uk/cycle.