Hartlepool teenager to spend Christmas in wheelchair after being inspired by dad who lost his legs in Afghanistan bomb blast

Shauna-Leigh Winspear holding a photograph of her with her dad Craig and partner Hayley and Craig's dad Paul
Shauna-Leigh Winspear holding a photograph of her with her dad Craig and partner Hayley and Craig's dad Paul

A Hartlepool teenager whose dad lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan is to spend a week using a wheelchair to raise money for a leading forces charity.

Sixteen-year-old Shauna-Leigh Winspear will experience firsthand the daily difficulties faced by disabled war veterans in aid of Help for Heroes, and help to raise greater awareness.

Shauna-Leigh Winspear with dad Craig WInspear who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2011.

Shauna-Leigh Winspear with dad Craig WInspear who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2011.

She has been inspired by her dad Craig Winspear, who lost both legs in an explosion while serving his country in December 2011.

He spent more than a year relying on a wheelchair during his recovery and rehabilitation, including learning how to walk again on prosthetic legs.

Shauna-Leigh, of Bishop Cuthbert, said: “I’ve always wanted to do a charity event for Help for Heroes because it is just so personal to me, but I never knew what I wanted to do. I thought of doing runs but this feels personal and more me and something I could really put my effort into.”

Craig’s family were told to prepare for the worst in December 2011, after he slipped on wet ground in Afghanistan and landed on a live bomb.

Craig WInspear meeting Prince Harry at the INvictus Games in Florida alongside daughter Shauna-Leigh Winspear and partner |Hayley Willson

Craig WInspear meeting Prince Harry at the INvictus Games in Florida alongside daughter Shauna-Leigh Winspear and partner |Hayley Willson

But after spending five months in hospital, he fought back to health.

In 2016 he won a silver medal as part of the UK basketball side, which reached the final of the Invictus Games in Florida, and he even met Prince Harry.

Shauna-Leigh added: “Since then I have seen the difficulties he’s been through and I’ve met so many people with their own struggles who just get on with it day by day, and it is so inspirational.

“We all know our veterans can struggle with PTSD and other mental issues as well as physical disabilities, yet we don’t take into consideration the challenge of adapting to life in a wheelchair and I would love to raise awareness of that.”

Shauna-Leigh Winspear holding a Help for Heroes T-shirt. Picture by FRANK REID

Shauna-Leigh Winspear holding a Help for Heroes T-shirt. Picture by FRANK REID

She will spend Christmas in the wheelchair while staying with Craig, who now lives in Bedford.

Although his house has been adapted for wheelchair use Shauna-Leigh, who is a student at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, is still expecting it to be no easy challenge.

“It will be a struggle,” she said. “As well as the physical push, I think going out in public will be quite difficult.

“Some shops haven’t got room for wheelchairs; just simple things people wouldn’t think about will become much more difficult in a wheelchair.”

Shauna-Leigh Winspear (left) with dad Craig Winspear and step-mum Hayley Winspear during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, in 2017.

Shauna-Leigh Winspear (left) with dad Craig Winspear and step-mum Hayley Winspear during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, in 2017.

Shauna-Leigh has set up an online sponsorship page and will post daily video updates on YouTube.

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