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Terminally ill man sets UK wheelchair speed record

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image copyrightPA Media/Kevin Greene
image captionJason Liversidge hit a UK record speed in his electric wheelchair during practice for a Guinness World Record

A terminally ill man, who is almost paralysed from the neck down, reached a record-breaking speed in a custom-made electric wheelchair.

Jason Liversidge, who has motor neurone disease, set a new UK time trial record of 59.064mph in a practice session.

Mr Liversidge was getting to grips with the wheelchair ahead of an attempt to reach a world record speed of 62mph.

He had never driven the chair before but given his worsening health he decided to see how fast he could go.

Speaking with a computer aid, Mr Liversidge, of Skirlaugh, near Hull, said: "I was amazed at what we achieved, I certainly didn't expect 59.064mph."

After being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013 when he was 37, Mr Liversidge decided he wanted to set a new Guinness World Record.

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image copyrightPA Media/Kevin Greene
image captionMr Liversidge raised funds for a bespoke electric wheelchair capable of going as fast as a car

His wife Liz said: "Jason has always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. He loved fast motorbikes when he was well. He's skied all his life.

"He can't ride motorbikes now and he can't drive a car, so for him it seems a practical solution."

The designers initially put a limit on the speed of the chair for the test day at Elvington Airfield, near York.

Mr Liversidge, who once hit the headlines for trialling a synthetic voice with a Yorkshire accent, completed a couple of runs at slow speed to ensure the joystick which controls the wheelchair was in the right position.

image copyrightPA Media/Kevin Greene
image captionWhen Mr Liversidge told his wife he would attempt the record in practice she "thought he was crazy"

After the steering was adjusted and the battery voltage increased, he managed 59.064mph.

The father-of-two is planning another attempt to hit the 62mph target set by Guinness.

"Jason's terminally ill. He's got advanced motor neurone disease. He is pretty much paralysed from the neck down," Mrs Liversidge added.

"For anyone to do it would be pushing the limit. So he's pushing it to the extreme of what's possible."

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Related Topics

  • Elvington
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Hull
  • York

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