Rugby and racing legends unite for 100-mile cycle challenge

Monday, March 21st, 2022

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group of cyclists

British Lions rugby legends Mike Teague and Peter Winterbottom, champion jockey AP McCoy, and jockey’s doc Phil Pritchard are part of the star-studded SpecialEffect Riders team taking on the RideLondon 100 cycle challenge in May in support of our work.

It’s all thanks to SpecialEffect Ambassador Ian Camm, who is the father of Rob, a remarkable young man we first met in intensive care nearly ten years ago after a bad accident.

“What do you say to your 19 year-old son when an accident has left him paralysed from the neck down and on a ventilator?” said Ian. “What do you say to him when he’s already spent 70 days lying on his back, only able to gaze at the ceiling tiles? Well, one of the things you can say is that ‘Mick and Hannah from SpecialEffect are coming in today.’” 

What a game changer that was!

We introduced Rob and his family to a gaze-controlled computer that day. “It was the first thing he was able to do for himself,” said Ian. “He didn’t have to rely on everybody to do absolutely everything for him. That was huge.”

Above: Rob (left) in 2018 before taking on the Great Bristol Half Marathon in his powered wheelchair, and (right) in 2013 after his accident using an eye gaze computer from his hospital bed.

Rob began to use the computer to re-establish vital contact with friends and keep in touch with the world outside. When he left hospital we carried on our support, helping him with access to technology that’s ultimately been a part of his successful training as a solicitor. He now also coaches wheelchair rugby for the Bristol Bears.

“SpecialEffect sat patiently by Rob’s bedside coaching him and then went on to quite simply transform his life,” said Ian. “They’ve been beside Rob all the way from him being in hospital, to coming home, to going to university and Law School and on to starting work.”

“SpecialEffect didn’t just change Rob’s life – they changed mine too,” said Ian. “From the darkest of days through to today – there will never be the right words to say thank you.”

We’re just one of several amazing organisations that have supported Rob over the years, and it’s an absolute honour that Ian, Mike, Phil, Tony and all the SpecialEffect Riders are dedicating so much of their time and energy to help us support more fantastic people like Rob. A huge thank you to everyone involved!

You can donate to the team and follow their training story here

The RideLondon 100 began in 2013 as an Olympic legacy event from the 2012 London Games, and its 100-mile route twists out from the heart of capital into Essex before returning to the finish at Tower Bridge.