Chichester firms rally to get new wheels for soldier

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A Chichester business has helped a disabled soldier realise his goal of taking part in a gruelling physical challenge for charity.

Healthcare and disability sector consultancy Veritas Procurement Services Limited was able to help Alan Larder in his quest to raise funds for the Veterans Charity known as Project 65 by locating a special handcycle so he could compete in the Forces March.

Alan, who is a volunteer with Project 65, is an ex-Royal Engineer and suffered extensive muscle and tissue damage to his legs and hands.

He wanted to take part in the Forces March but was unable to compete using a wheelchair because of the long distance and difficult terrain.

Project 65 approached Veritas, whose managing director Richard Nicholson is also a former Royal Engineer, and they were, with help from Fareham-based Team Hybrid able to locate a machine from Sunrise Medical.

A number of individuals and organisations donated £3,000 for the machine.

Mr Nicholson said: “They kindly offered to supply a Quickie Shark S handcycle at cost price through their local dealer Team Hybrid whose managing director Mark Higgon – himself a wheelchair user – very generously offered to reduce the cost still further and went out on a limb to order the handcycle even before the funds had been raised.

“Alan went on to not only compete in but win the Forces March, a brave, painful and inspiring feat.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Sunrise Medical and Team Hybrid for their valued support and of course to Alan for raising significant funds for Project 65.”

The Forces March involves runners and walkers completing five marathons in five days along an undulating route which begins in Ilfracombe, North Devon and passes through Exmoor, the Quantock Hills, rural Somerset and much of Salisbury Plain before finishing just outside the UK’s biggest army garrison, Bulford Camp.

Veritas also thanked Frances and Alan Kent of MFC Survival for driving from Cardiff to Bulford to deliver and set up the shelter it borrowed for the Forces March.

n The company also helped raise just over £2,278 for Help For Heroes by organising a collection outside Tesco in Shripney, Bognor Regis.

Veritas teamed up with Number 17 Bognor Detachment B Company Army Cadets for the two-day event.