Portsmouth amputee Harley, 25, completes London Marathon for Rowans Hospice

LASHING rain could not dampen the spirits of this determined charity fundraiser as he pushed his body and mind to the limit to complete his first marathon.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 5:24 pm
Harley Salter (25) took part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon raising money for the Rowans Hospice Charity. Harley had a lovely send off by staff at The Rowans Hospice on Sunday, October 4. Pictured is: Harley Salter with his mum Vanessa Salter. Picture: Sarah Standing (041020-4915)

Amputee Harley Salter was cheered on as he tackled a 26.2-mile route around Portsmouth as part of a ‘virtual’ Virgin Money London Marathon event yesterday.

The inspirational 25-year-old, whose right foot was amputated in 2018, used his Alinker walking bike to take on the marathon.

The event was in aid of the Rowans Hospice Charity and in memory of Harley’s aunt and one of his former support workers, who was cared for by Rowans.

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Harley Salter (25) took part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon raising money for the Rowans Hospice Charity. Harley had a lovely send off by staff at The Rowans Hospice on Sunday, October 4. Pictured is: Harley Salter with his mum Vanessa Salter. Picture: Sarah Standing (041020-4931)

Accompanied by his mum Vanessa, Harley’s epic odyssey began outside Rowans Hospice, in Purbrook Heath Road, Waterlooville.

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Pushing through the driving wind and rain, Harley and Vanessa made their way to Portsmouth, travelling along the Eastern Road and through Milton, with stops outside Fratton Park and OId Portsmouth before crossing the finish line at the hovercraft terminal in Southsea.

Speaking to The News at the halfway point of the marathon, Vanessa said: ‘I’m immensely proud of Harley. It’s been a real challenge for him not just physically but mentally too.’

Harley Salter (25) took part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon raising money for the Rowans Hospice Charity. Harley had a lovely send off by staff at The Rowans Hospice on Sunday, October 4. Pictured is: Harley Salter with his mum Vanessa Salter. Picture: Sarah Standing (041020-7420)

Harley, who has multiple disabilities including autism and Tourette’s syndrome, has previously tackled Portsmouth’s Great South Run using his walking bike.

And high on that achievement, he decided to take on the ultimate challenge of a marathon.

Ordinarily, Harley would never have been able to tackle the event in London. But after the annual spectacle was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, it gave the 25-year-old the chance to join thousands of others virtually in competing.

Vanessa added: ‘It’s difficult for somebody like him, with autism, to really appreciate the enormity of what he has been doing.

‘He knows it’s something big and something great and that people are really rooting for him.

‘We’ve had cars tooting for him and people waving at him. He doesn’t realise how brilliant what he is doing is. He’s just loving it.’

Harley’s remarkable efforts have drawn praise from Ruth White, the chief executive of Rowans Hospice Charity.

‘But I also want to take my hat off to his mum Vanessa because she is so special,’ she added.‘To coach him, to support him and to run alongside him today, particularly in the wet and windy weather in Portsmouth.I just think that's just truly inspirational too.

‘So Harley and his mum Vanessa both need an accolade. And I can't thank them enough for what they've done to support the charity.’

Harley smashed his £100 fundraising target, drumming up more than £700. To support him you can sponsor him at: justgiving.com/fundraising/harleysalter-londonmarathon2020

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