Wounded major turns passion into a day job

Steve McCulley of LIOS on the left with Stephen Brownlie of Fareham Innovation
Steve McCulley of LIOS on the left with Stephen Brownlie of Fareham Innovation
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THINGS are on the up for a wounded war hero as he is the first person to take space at newly-built business centre.

Cycle design-and-build business LIOS, founded by Steve McCulley, has taken up residence at the Fareham Innovation Centre, built on former Royal Navy airfield Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Mr McCulley, a former major with the Royal Marines, started the business after he was medically discharged after 17 years service.

The father-of-two spent three weeks in a coma and two years in medical rehabilitation after suffering life-threatening injuries from an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in May 2011.

He had most of his right lung removed due to complications caused by shrapnel in his chest.

During recovery, the 37-year-old turned his love of cycling racing into a new career.

Under the name LIOS – inspired by the names of seven-year-old daughter Lily and eight-year-old son Oscar – he designs, builds, fits and sells bespoke carbon racing bikes after qualifying as a cycle technician with Help For Heroes, which paid for his accreditation courses.

Mr McCulley said: ‘LIOS was previously based at my house, just up the road, and at a rented unit at the airfield. But this was far from ideal.

‘The superb facilities reflect the professional standing of LIOS. My aim is to grow LIOS – perhaps in time our carbon bikes may be used by the next generation of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froomes in the Tour de France.’

Fareham Innovation Centre, managed by innovation centres specialist Oxford Innovation on behalf of Fareham Borough Council, has 15 workshops and 24 offices, from 200sq ft to 800sq ft, for between one to 10 people.

The centre is in the South’s first Enterprise Zone, following special designation by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011, and occupiers benefit from a 100 per cent business rate discount for five years.

Gary Jeffries, chairman of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, a driving force for regeneration in the area, said: ‘Our warm congratulations to LIOS as the first occupier.

‘The innovation centre is part of the £5.3m Enterprise Zone which is breathing new life into the site of the former HMS Daedalus Royal Navy air station.’

Stephen Brownlie, centre manager, said: ‘Steve’s business is exactly the kind we are looking to attract, with design innovation and product demand creating local employment and all-important inward investment.’