East Dereham’s Simon Taylor hit speeds of 60kph, crossed a 2 km frozen glacier and twisted through 20km of mountainside forest with tortuous climbs as part of a Help for Heroes-supported group of wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel. This is the first disabled team to complete the Alpe d’Huez Megavalanche – the longest downhill race in the world.
Simon works for JET as our Norfolk Youth Liaison Officer for our Blue Skies and Inspirational Outreach programmes and has already inspired 1300 young people through talks, assemblies, lessons and visits. His latest tremendous achievement is bound to inspire many more.
Ellie Orton, Interim CEO said: “JET is all about inspiring young people to be the best they can be; Si’s achievements and determination to overcome adversity by completing this amazing challenge with his team is an inspiration to all of us.”
Simon, a former sergeant with the Light Dragoons, served in Bosnia and Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan. While on a routine patrol in 2009, his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He suffered a multitude of broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung, spinal fractures and a shattered ankle. As a result of the injuries, in 2011 Simon’s right leg was amputated below the knee. He has had a cage fitted around his spine, his shoulder pinned and arm plated. Psychologically he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from feelings of guilt for his comrade who died in the incident.
Simon’s first encounter with cycling post-injury was in 2012, shortly before being medically discharged from the Army. “On my first time out on it, I went further in a 15 minute ride than I’d been in the last two years. I became addicted. It’s my way of helping with the psychological side of things, getting out and about in nature. It gives me the space to get my head together. People perceive the sport as off-limits for people with a disability but it’s just about having the right skills and confidence to do it.”
Congratulations to Si and the rest of his team from everyone at JET and we look forward to hearing about your next challenge!