Former Royal Engineer Stephen Salmon walks 4,000m with zimmer frame

Stephen Salmond and daughter

Article by Toby Emes: A former soldier who is paralysed from the waist down walked more than 4,000m outside his home instead of taking part in the London Marathon.

Stephen Salmon, who served as a Royal Engineer in the Army for five years before suffering a neurological illness, walked 26 lengths of Springfield Road, in Billericay, for more than five hours to make up for the cancelled race.

The 36-year-old who has no feeling in his legs after developing the illness 12 years ago, ditched his wheelchair for a zimmerframe and walked up and down the 160m-long road on Sunday, and has raised more than £4,000 for Whizz Kids, a charity which provides wheelchairs and equipment for disabled children.

He is planning on taking part in the rescheduled marathon in October.

Mr Salmon, who joined the Army at 19, but returned home to Billericay five years later, told the Echo how he warned his neighbours the walk would not be comfortable viewing. He said:

“Towards the end I had spasms in my legs. My daughter had to walk behind me with the chair in case I fell. I had one fall in the five hours. It was a struggle to get up, but the resilience I’ve built up over the years kept me going. It was an alien experience. I can’t feel my legs but I knew they were struggling. I had to use my upper body to drag my feet along. There was immense pressure on my shoulders. I want to thank my neighbours for their support. They all came out and cheered me on.”

Stephen, who uses his wheelchair 90per cent of the time, explained the difficulties he faced when returning home to Billericay after leaving the Army.

“I had to start again”, he said, “I didn’t know where I fitted in. I didn’t want my disability to define me. I had to redefine who I was. It was a completely new life.”

Stephen is now an ambassador for Help for Heroes and continues to raise awareness for Whizz Kids.

To donate, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephenSalmon1.

Article by Toby Emes, The Echo