A PARALYSED former jockey from Sheffield sets out on Monday for the challenge of a lifetime.
Paul ‘Barney’ Bamford, aged 44, was paralysed from the chest down when a horse tripped and fell on him six years ago.
Barney broke his back under the horse - and his life changed forever.
But Barney, who was working as an assistant trainer at the time of the accident, having already retired as a jockey, is not one to dwell on his misfortune.
On Monday he will embark upon a journey on his hand cycle - a specially adapted machine which fits on his wheelchair.
The dad-of-two is aiming to raise £90,000 for Racing Welfare, the charity that helped him in the wake of his accident, and £10,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
“The training is going really well,” said Barney, who lives in Dungworth with wife Deborah, 29, son Callum, nine, and daughter Krystal, five.
“It’s pretty hilly where we live so I’ve had some good training. And the route I’m doing is quite flat so I should be fine.”
Barney aims to cycle from Redcar racecourse in Teesside to York racecourse, then on to Doncaster racecourse, where he intends to arrive next Saturday.
The distance is the equivalent of four marathons in six days - driven by arm power and determination.
During the trek he will be stopping at racing yards and training centres.
He said: “Racing Welfare have been brilliant with me.
“They are always there to talk to and provide support when the times get tough.”
The charity, which exists to help injured stable staff, was responsible for airlifting Paul back to the spinal injuries unit at the Northern General Hospital after his accident in 2006, which took place at a stables in Spain.
And ever since the charity has bought him wheelchairs and paid for adaptations to his house.
But while Barney is grateful to Racing Welfare, it is his daughter Krystal who he gives credit for his bright outlook on life.
“My wife was four months pregnant at the time of the accident,” he said. “I was in hospital for four months and when I came home I had a little girl.
“I was trying to get used to myself again and I had her to look after as well. She pulled me through it.
“On the dark days I had to get up for her.”
Log on to www.justgiving.com/barneyschallenge to sponsor Barney.