Hare force goes to the rescue
DAVID Sharp, paralysed when his Hurricane plane crashed during the war, has today given fresh hope to stricken speedway rider Lawrence Hare.Sharp, now aged 78, made a near complete recovery after breaking his back, and he went on to lead a normal life, playing rugby and cricket.
By Elvin King
DAVID Sharp, paralysed when his Hurricane plane crashed during the war, has today given fresh hope to stricken speedway rider Lawrence Hare.
Sharp, now aged 78, made a near complete recovery after breaking his back, and he went on to lead a normal life, playing rugby and cricket.
The former Fleet Air Arm pilot wants to meet up with Ipswich-based Hare, who is in Stoke Mandeville Hospital after being paralysed from the chest down following a crash while riding for Exeter at Newport on April 14.
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And Mr Sharp is delighted that a collection of speedway programmes collected by his late wife Alma has just raised £400 for the Lawrence Hare fund.
Mrs Sharp died earlier this year aged 68 and her widower wanted to find a worthwhile use for the programmes that are in mint condition and include matches at Wembley, Walthamstow, Harringay, New Cross and Wimbledon between 1947 and 1952.
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"I felt the binders were too valuable to discard and through the Speedway Star found a perfect solution," said Mr Sharp, who attended a few speedway meetings at Hackney with his wife.
"She was a keen speedway supporter before we met and I want this tribute to be made in her maiden name of McGiffin," he said.
Former fighter pilot Mr Sharp was 19 when his Hurricane got into severe difficulties when test flying over Scotland in 1943. He had to crash land and ended up fracturing his spine.
"I want to give hope to Lawrence," he added from his Kelvedon home. "I know what it is like to suffer a tough do.
"From reports I have read about Lawrence he suffered a similar injury to mine. I worked very hard and gradually feeling came back into my legs.
"Within six months I was flying again and I went on to play rugby and cricket. There is a lack of feeling still in one leg and I have to put my good one into a bath first to make sure the temperature is correct.
"But otherwise I have had no problems. This shows Lawrence what can be done. Within ten days some feeling returned and I gradually strengthened my muscles."
Recalling his crash landing, Mr Sharp said: "I tried to pick a good spot to land after my plane hit trouble. But I hit a big boulder and was flung over sharply. I was pulled out of the wreckage by locals and put in plaster from my neck to groin in hospital.
"I was paralysed from the waist down and my future looked bleak. But I recovered and my best wishes go to Lawrence. I plan to see him and give any help I can."
Mr Sharp was flying again within six months and after the war he went to university and then to Uganda. It was when he returned to the UK that he met his bride to be.
"She would be delighted that her programmes have helped Lawrence," he said.
Andrew Skeels, deputy editor of the Speedway Star, said: "To be honest I expected some tatty programmes, but they are in a special binder and in mint condition.
"We had then valued by Nick Barber from Felixstowe and were going to auction them.
"But we have decided to buy them ourselves and have sent a cheque for £400 to Lol's fund."
The fund, run by Lol's aunt Lynn Dennis and former speedway promoter Mike Western in conjunction with the Evening Star, aims to raise £100,000 for Lol's future.
Donations can be sent to the Lol Hare Appeal, Geraldine Thompson, Editor's Secretary, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.