Lee believes 65 Degrees North has helped him regain his self-worth

Published Wednesday, 8th March 2023
Lee spencer h s

Former Royal Marine amputee Lee Spencer has told how his sense of self-worth has returned being part of a 65 Degrees North expedition.

He is currently preparing for the charity’s latest venture - a traverse of the iconic Hardangervidda in Norway with 65 Degrees North.

The trip will see 53-year-old Lee and five other beneficiaries ski 140 kilometres over six days.

It continues 65 Degrees North’s bid to create a series of challenging, adventurous activities for carefully selected members of the WIS (wounded, injured and sick) service personnel.

The Norway expedition is unique for 65DN, as it is the first time it involves representatives from all three of the services - Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

And Lee, who served in the Marines for 24 years, is keen to profile the important work 65DN do for WIS personnel especially after what he has been through.

After coming through three operational tours of Afghanistan unscathed, Lee lost his right leg after being hit by an engine block as he was helping a motorist who had crashed into the central reservation of the M3 in Surrey in 2014. 

Although his right leg was severed in the impact, his training kicked in and he was able to instruct bystanders on how to tie a tourniquet and help paramedics to save his life. 

“I wanted to say a couple of things about 65 Degrees North and what they do and what is the point of it is,” said Lee.

“When you are a servicemen or woman it’s more than just a job, it’s service, it defines who you are and when you lose that through injury you lose that sense of self and with it often that sense of self-worth.

“And lots of people think really ‘what’s the point in me’ and by regaining that sense of adventurous spirit and getting out and doing things that you used to do before it’s more than just a jolly. It’s more than just a holiday. It gives you you that sense of who you were - rediscover who you were -and with it that sense of self-worth.

“And for me that really matters and it matters for so many people. So that’s why I’m raising money for 65 Degrees North whilst we are crossing the Hardangervidda.

Lee has turned to skiing but he is more renowned as a rower.

In 2015 he rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat. The Row2Recovery team of four injured veterans had just 3 legs between them. 

In February 2016, some 46 days, 6 hours and 49 minutes after setting out they rowed into Antigua and the record books as the world’s first physically disabled crew of four to row any ocean.  

Following this, he became the world’s first physically disabled person to row from mainland Europe to mainland South America solo and unsupported.

He also broke the record for the longest solo and unsupported ocean row by a physically disabled person, a total of 3 Guinness World records. 

The link to the Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/65degreesheroesoftelemark

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