'Bionic' woman Claire Lomas completes London Marathon
Published: 8th May 2012 15:09:10
A paralysed Leicestershire woman has become the first person to complete a marathon in a "bionic" suit.
The £43,000 device allows Claire Lomas to walk by detecting shifts in her balance.
Mrs Lomas, from Eye Kettleby near Melton Mowbray, was paralysed from the chest down when she broke her back in a horse-riding accident in 2007.
The 32-year-old crossed the finish line at 12:50 BST - 16 days after starting the race with 36,000 other people.
She was met by cheering onlookers and a Pearly King and Queen as she walked beneath an arch of red balloons.
Mrs Lomas said: "It was really emotional and I couldn't believe the support - I'm still in shock really.
"The last half a mile or so was pretty easy to walk because I had everyone just pushing me forward," she said.
"I've had a really good group with me and it would have been impossible without them."
So far she has raised about £80,000 for Spinal Research, a charity which funds medical research around the world to develop treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.
Mrs Lomas walked about two miles a day to complete the course, accompanied by her husband Dan, mother Joyce and 13-month-old daughter Maisie.
Organisers have been criticised for insisting that Mrs Lomas would not appear in the official results or receive a medal for finishing, as rules state competitors must complete the course on the same day.
The 32-year-old broke her neck, back and ribs and punctured a lung when her horse threw her off as she took part in the Osberton Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. 'Bionic' woman Claire Lomas completes London Marathon [Online] (Updated 8th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1427137/Bionic-woman-Claire-Lomas-completes-London-Marathon [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com