Manager role for speedway hero
SPEEDWAY rider Lol Hare's life turned upside down when he had a terrible accident and became paralysed from the chest down.But less than a year after the devastating crash, the 33-year-old is making a dramatic comeback into the sport he so loved - by becoming team manager of Exeter Falcons.
By Jessica Nicholls
SPEEDWAY rider Lol Hare's life turned upside down when he had a terrible accident and became paralysed from the chest down.
But less than a year after the devastating crash, the 33-year-old is making a dramatic comeback into the sport he so loved - by becoming team manager of Exeter Falcons.
Lol had been riding for the Falcons in a meeting at Newport last April, when his bike crashed into fencing and he broke his neck.
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He had been riding with them for two years before the accident happened.
His team has always been right behind him and when the opening for team manager came up, Lol was first in their thoughts to fill the position.
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From now on, Lol will be sitting in the pits watching the races, to see what substitutions need to be made.
And it is not just the Falcons who will be taking up his time.
Lol is also going to write a column for the Evening Star after Thursday meetings at Foxhall Stadium. The Speedway Star, a magazine for riders and enthusiasts, has also asked him to write monthly reports for them.
Lol said: "I have got so much stuff to do now.
"It will be really good for me, providing my health keeps improving."
His new job with the Falcons will mean that he is travelling around the country a lot, watching around 40 race meetings a year.
He said: "I am going to do as many race meetings as I can.
"I know a lot of the boys at Exeter and I should get to see them a lot more now."
He added: "Knowing racing myself could really help, as some managers may not have been riders before."
His first race meeting is at the end of March, and is a double one with a meeting in Exeter one day and another in Trelawny near Newquay, the following day.
April 2002 – Lol crashes on April 14 while riding for Exeter at Newport and crushed vertebrae leaving him paralysed from the chest down.
His injuries left the town and everyone who knew him in shock and even got a message of support from David Beckham.
May 2002 – a major operation at the Royal Gwent Hospital enables Lol to move his arms again.
June 2002 – Lol is moved to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire and doctors predict he will be home by Christmas.
September 2002 – Lol has been astounding doctors with his progress and is given a going home date of October 25.
October 2002 – Lol finally returns home to Ipswich full of plans for his future.
November 2002 – He gets back behind the wheel in a specially adapted car boosting his independence.
An astonishing £158,000 has been raised through the Lol Hare Appeal launched by his aunt Lynn Dennis in conjunction with the Evening Star.
The Evening Star stopped taking donations when the fund hit £100,000 but the appeal is still in full flow and money is continuing to flood in.
The money is held in trust for Lol's future, so he can buy things that cannot be bought from any state benefits - such as his specially adapted car and upgrading his home to cater for his disability.
Anyone who is fundraising for Lol or just wants to give a donation can call Lynn Dennis on 01473 430430.