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Claire Lomas MBE

Adversity, Resilience and Change - The Power of Gratitude - Diversity and Inclusion

'Call me an inspiration if you like, but I'm just me,' is something Claire Lomas tells the many people she inspires through her talks and her writing. And who are we to disagree? After all, it took her seventeen days to complete the London Marathon in 2012 - and that was walking.

The thing is, Claire was paralysed in an eventing accident in 2007 and when she completed the marathon on foot, she was the first paraplegic person to ever achieve such an undertaking, walking all 26 miles with the help of an exoskeleton suit.

And then there's the 400-mile handcycling around Great Britain. And the skiing. And the motorcycle track days and challenges. And her newly-acquired pilot's licence.

As she likes to say, 'No, I do not believe the sky is the limit'.

Before her accident - in which a collision with a tree while eventing left her with broken ribs, a punctured lung and a spinal cord injury that paralysed her from the chest down - she was a successful chiropractor as well as building a career as a top-level event rider. As a result of that one moment, she lost her career, her sporting dreams, her mobility, her health and even her long-term relationship.

What would you do in circumstances like these?

Apart from being down-to-earth and approachable with an infectious positivity, Claire is also very honest about how hard it has been since that fateful day in 2007. She's not a Paralympian or world-class athlete, just a normal person like the rest of us who had to first make a decision - do I go on? - and then a plan - how?

Recent titles include:

  • Mindset: The Mind that Perceives the Limitation is the Limitation.
  • Resilience Through Adversity - How to Embrace the Unexpected
  • Gratitude Means Focusing on What We Can Do, Not What We Can't

It was the skiing that was the first metaphorical step in the right direction. Even though she had lost the natural abilities she had when she was horse riding, such as a sense of balance, she still retained her passion for pushing herself combined with an indomitable bravery. Through skiing in a specially-designed monoski, she started to understand that the limitations she thought she had following the accident were more in her mind than in the physical world. 

And then came the bionic robotic ReWalk exoskeleton. 

It was in this pioneering - yet unwieldy and challenging - piece of equipment that Claire set off on the London Marathon, completing it 17 days later with a guard of honour from the Household Cavalry accompanying her across the finishing line in The Mall. It was also in this kit that she completed the Great North Run in five days (whilst 16 weeks pregnant), the Great South Run where she walked through the night and the Greater Manchester Marathon where she knocked an amazing eight days off her personal best.

And it was in this suit that she had the honour of lighting the cauldron in Trafalgar Square to herald the the start of the 2012 London Paralympics.

What's more, she not only completes these feats of endurance to show herself and others what can be done when we really set our minds to it, she also raises money for spinal injury research charities. It's a total that currently stands at £902,000 with that million pounds mark tantalisingly in reach. (And do get in touch if this is something your school or college would like to get involved with.)

Claire's philosophy of 'If I can do that, what else can I do?' means there really are no limits to what she can apply her talents to. Despite never having ridden a motorbike before her accident, she recently not only learned to ride but also to compete, complete with a race competition licence. To this she has recently added her pilot's license, another skill she didn't know she had before the accident.

The irony of the fact that she finds it easier to race a motorbike, fly a plane or run a marathon than it is to take public transport across London is not lost on Claire and she is also using her new-found public visibility to raise awareness about issues around inclusion, accessibility and diversity.

It was no surprise when Claire was recognised for her charitable, voluntary and sporting endeavours with an MBE in 2017 and why we are so delighted to welcome her as one of New Voices in 2024.

Claire may well be 'just me', yet she'll take the label 'inspiration'. But only if we use her amazing story to make something more of our own lives.

What a presentation! Full of inspiration, motivation and a fascinating life story and view on the ups and downs of life.

Claire was warm, funny, moving and inspiring in equal measure. She kept us spell bound all the way through

If you are looking for a motivational speaker to talk about resilience, hope and sheer determination, I recommend Claire!

Aside from being one of the most inspiring people you are ever likely to meet, she also has an excellent grasp of issues including change management, setting stretching objectives and, as one would expect, the power of a positive mindset

Put simply, Claire "smashed it!"

Just WOW! Claire is truly impressive and inspiring

An authentic and natural motivational speaker, she brought home so many key messages that we're certain will stick with us for a very long time

Her story is, of course extraordinary, but she is able to combine a talent for compelling story-telling in the most accessible, searingly honest and humbling way imaginable

She is the best of all us, but makes it possible for all of us to want to emulate her love of life, opportunity and potential

Claire Lomas In Her Own Words


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