A former pub landlord aims to become the first disabled person to hand-cycle non-stop for 24 hours.
Robert Groves, 59, of Town Mead, West Green, who ran the Punch Bowl in the town centre and The Mill House in Ifield, plans to cycle at least 350 miles in 24 hours at Thruxton Motor Circuit in Hampshire on September 6.
Mr Groves, who was paralysed from the waist down in an accident eight years ago, wants to raise money to buy five hand-cycles, which cost around £3,000 each, and open a hand-cycling club for disabled children in Crawley.
He was paralysed after a spinal disc collapsed and gradually damaged nerves in his spinal cord.
He said: “I woke up one day and couldn’t move my legs or walk.
“I used to be a body builder, I was always a very fit person.”
He grew his chest from 44in to 50in in three months to raise money for Crawley Hospital when he ran the Punch Bowl some 16 years ago.
He took up hand-cycling after he went to the London 2012 Paralympics.
He said: “Ever since then I haven’t looked back.
“I don’t see the wheelchair anymore.
“It’s to help youngsters to overcome that, if I can help them to see themselves and not see the chair.”
Mr Groves has trained for the event for more than a year and exercises five days per week at The Gym’s health club in Queens Square.
He said he wanted to run fitness sessions for disabled people at his gym.
He planned to become a qualified fitness instructor for people with disabilities in December 2014.
Mr Groves will cycle from Edinburgh to London in aid of charities Children in Need and Aspire, which supports people with spinal injuries, from November 11 to 14.
He aims to raise £10,000 for Aspire, which gave him £5,000 to buy a hand-cycle. He received it at his home on Friday (May 9).
He will display his hand-cycle and hold a raffle in aid of the charity in Queens Square at 11am Saturday (May 17).
Crawley businesses donated around £1,000 worth of prizes to it.