Torchbearer giving a helping hand to cause

Herald Series: fundraising: Wheelchair marathon man Dave Bracher is taking part in a hand-cycle ride from London to Paris to raise money for the Spinal Injuries Association which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Picture: OX67145 Jon Lewis Buy this photo fundraising: Wheelchair marathon man Dave Bracher is taking part in a hand-cycle ride from London to Paris to raise money for the Spinal Injuries Association which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Picture: OX67145 Jon Lewis

IN August 2012, Dave Bracher was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch into Harrow on its way to London.

Now he is preparing for his latest challenge in a wheelchair. Today, the father-of-two will hand-cycle from London to Paris as part of a fundraising team.

Mr Bracher, of Sherwood Road, Didcot, said: “It will take about three days to hand-cycle all the way and we are expecting to cover about 90 miles a day.”

In 2008 the 46-year-old was struck down by a rare combination of two illnesses – Guillain Barre syndrome and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis – disorders affecting different parts of the nervous system.

But after 42 days in intensive care, and a month on the neurology ward, he gradually started to regain control of his upper body.

In 2011 Mr Bracher became one of the first non-elite wheelchair users to take part in the London Marathon after campaigning for the organisers to allow people using standard wheelchairs to take part.

He said: “I do a lot of work with the Spinal Injuries Association, which this year is celebrating its 40th birthday.

“To celebrate it is organising this charity bike ride, with three people like me taking part — the remainder of the 25 will be on ordinary bikes.”

The group are leaving Greenwich at 7am for Folkestone to get the ferry and will then cycle through France aiming to reach the Eiffel Tower in Paris by 5pm on Sunday.

He aims to raise £3,000. To donate visit justgiving.com/dave-bracher

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