Speedway ace finds new love

TWO years after his world came crashing down, Lawrence Hare has found a new love and is looking to the future with renewed enthusiasm.The speedway rider, who was paralysed from the chest down in a high-speed spill at Newport on April 14 2002, now has his life back on track.

TWO years after his world came crashing down, Lawrence Hare has found a new love and is looking to the future with renewed enthusiasm.

The speedway rider, who was paralysed from the chest down in a high-speed spill at Newport on April 14 2002, now has his life back on track.

And 21-year-old Lucy Westley has put the finishing touches to his new-found optimism.

They live together in Lawrence's bungalow on the outskirts of Ipswich that is currently being modified so that he will find it easier to get around in his wheelchair.

"We have been together since just before Christmas and get on so well," said Lawrence 34. "To be honest it has taken me by surprise, but I could not be happier.

"We have a laugh and a joke together, and Lucy helps me to get things done. My friends told me this would happen, but I was not thinking along these lines."

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Lucy is the daughter of Glenn Westley, who was once a member of the Ipswich Town youth team and is the brother of former Luton Town manager Terry.

She works as a beauty therapist with Lawrence's brother Stewart's partner Maria. Lucy said: "I love Lawrence to bits.

"He is such a lovely person and we are very happy together. We hit it off straight away and I did not want to be apart from him from day one.

"Lawrence is such a lovely, sweet person and is so much fun to be with. We get on famously and both feel this will be a long-term relationship, and when his bungalow has been modernised we can settle down to a lifetime together."

Lawrence plucked up courage to ask Lucy to a pre-Christmas party organised by Guy Nicholls, one of the people who have done so much to help the former Exeter and Edinburgh rider since his crash.

"She accepted and we have not looked back. I have so much to be thankful for."

Lucy was a cross-country runner of note, representing Suffolk for a number of years.

Both Lawrence and Lucy are currently staying with the former's parents John and Dawn while the bungalow is being adapted.

When completed it will provide level access from the road right into the bungalow and also provide a shower room and other aids to help Lawrence get around.

"Over the last two years there have been some down moments, and at times it has been pretty black," admitted Lawrence. "But it is much, much brighter now and we are very happy."

Following his crash he spent weeks in a Newport hospital and also a long while in the special spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville hospital near Aylesbury.

Now that things are looking up, Lawrence expects to watch Ipswich Evening Star Witches ride at Foxhall Stadium on a regular basis and he forecasts a successful season.

"Director Magda Louis gave me a whisper during the winter what the side was likely to be, and I knew from then that this summer would be an exciting one for Witches fans," said Lawrence, whose brother has joined forces with former Witch Savalas Clouting to form Straight-Line Fencing.

"They are doing work at my bungalow at the moment, and so many people have pitched in and given me so much help."

Lawrence has booked a hotel in Cardiff so that he can watch the Fiat Vans British Speedway Grand Prix on June 12 at the Millennium Stadium, and along with Matt Cottrell and Guy Nicholls he is also going to a moto-cross GP in Holland.

Evening Star readers will join in wishing Lawrence and Lucy much future happiness, as his resolve in overcoming his personal disaster has been an example to all.

LAWRENCE Hare is the bravest person I know.

As the first journalist to conduct an interview after his horrendous crash at Newport nearly two years ago, it was with some trepidation that I approached the assignment.

Lawrence was in a steel brace with screws inserted into his head so that he could not move. When the bed was lifted automatically he could just see out of the window.

For the rest of time, day and night, he was restricted to looking at the same piece of ceiling.

But it was not himself he was concerned about. "How are you, is everything OK? It is so nice of you to call," were his first words.

And this appreciation of others and genuineness are the reasons why so many people rallied round to help the fund that was set up to provide Lol, as he is affectionately known, with the means to enjoy a meaningful future.

He knows full well that he has been dealt a poor hand and there have been times when he admits he has felt really low.

But a cheery quip was never far from his lips, and although it might take time there was always a silver lining he could unearth from even the darkest cloud.

It is no more than he deserves that he has found true happiness with Lucy, and I am sure it will blossom into a long-term romance.

Lol was not the most talented speedway rider in the world, but he was the most respected. He won his fair share of races, but won more than his fair share of acclaim.

His friendly nature and keenness to please led to him being voted rider of the season at both Oxford and Edinburgh where he was a huge favourite with fans.

He would have been a success at whatever he turned his hand to, and although fate has left him with a terrible legacy from his speedway days he is now set up to live life in the fast lane once more.

Do you have a heartwarming story for us? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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