Fund for stricken speedway rider

SPEEDWAY rider Lawrence Hare is believed to have broken his neck in the horrific crash at Newport at the weekend.Now the popular Ipswich-based rider, who may be paralysed after the crash, is to benefit from a new fund set up by a caring photographer.

SPEEDWAY rider Lawrence Hare is believed to have broken his neck in the horrific crash at Newport at the weekend.

Now the popular Ipswich-based rider, who may be paralysed after the crash, is to benefit from a new fund set up by a caring photographer.

Mike Patrick was watching at the trackside and caught the terrible accident on film, as Hare's bike clipped another and crashed into the fence at Newport.

But he doesn't want to make money from such misfortune. He has decided to donate all proceeds from the pictures' reproduction – including a special bumper £500 fee from the Evening Star – to Hare.


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Mike has travelled the world photographing speedway from his base at Bicester near Oxford, for more than 30 years, including covering the Grand Prixs in locations like Australia.

He's seen all sorts of thrills and spills, but he was still horrified to see Sunday's drama unfold through the lens.

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He said: "I had just gone up to that corner of the track, when it happened so quickly.

"I was taking eight shots a second, and he suddenly appeared behind another rider, lost control and went off the side of the picture.

"It wasn't as if I was following him, but I realised something bad was happening. Looking at the pictures afterwards I saw him in three shots, all taken within three eighths of a second – it happened at an alarming rate."

Hare is still in a stable condition in Gwent Hospital, but faces the prospect of life in a wheelchair.

Hare, who lives in Old Norwich Road, Ipswich with wife Stacey, a former Miss Witch, has his family at his hospital bedside.

On Sunday it was believed he had no feeling from the waist down, and this moved up to the shoulders on Monday.

Mike added: "I don't want to make money out of the pictures. I know him personally – he's one of the nicest riders in speedway and when you think what he is facing, it puts any other problems in life into perspective.

"I have already had fees from the Express and Echo in Exeter, the Oxford Mail and am also asking the Edinburgh Mail and local television stations if they want to contribute.

"I was amazed when the Evening Star said it would give £500. That has given the fund a real boost, because there will be things he needs in future, to help his recovery."

Hare, who runs a panel beating and spraying business at Old Newton, rides for Exeter.

Both Exeter and Edinburgh, where he rode previously, have offered to run a special meeting if necessary to raise funds.

Meanwhile donations and pledges have started to pour in from generous Suffolk people.

Lynn Dennis, Hare's aunt, said: "We have already had a terrific response from people and are nearing the £1,000 mark.

"Ruby Woods (who is known to speedway fans as Mum Witch) was on the phone immediately asking how she could make a donation.

"She told me Lawrence is one of her favourites and she has a picture of him on her fridge."

Many other individuals and companies are also in the process of setting up events and donations to help pay for his treatment.

The Evening Star is collecting money to help Lawrence and his family. Anyone who wishes to make a donation should send money to: Geraldine Thompson, Editor's Secretary, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or contact her on 01473-282290.

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