Injured Pewsey jockey finds new sporting passion

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Wayne Burton with fellow wheelchair basketball enthusiasts Wayne Burton with fellow wheelchair basketball enthusiasts

Former jockey Wayne Burton’s life changed forever when he fell from his horse and broke his back in a race in 2008, but he has never lost his competitive nature.

The former Pewsey Vale pupil was confined to a wheelchair by the accident at a race course in Exeter.

This year he started training with the Thames Valley Kings Wheelchair Basketball Club and the sport has given him a new lease of life.

In August this year the courageous 30-year-old put his fears aside and made a parachute jump at 13,000 ft over the Salisbury Plain to raise money for his own sports wheelchair.

He needed to raise £3,000 and, after almost doubling his fundraising target, he was finally able to pick up his specialised wheelchair earlier this month and is hoping to compete in his first match early next year.

He said: “I just love sport and I thought ‘what can I play when I’m in a wheelchair?’ “Before I had to borrow somebody else’s wheelchair to train and I was relying on someone else bringing another chair for me to borrow.

“We only train together on a Saturday, which isn’t really enough, but with this wheelchair I can practice at home by myself. It’s very different to a normal wheelchair.”

Mr Burton donated the remaining money to Racing Welfare, a charity that helps anyone who works or has worked in the thoroughbred horseracing and breeding industry.

“I’d like to thank everyone who donated towards the wheelchair, particularly jockey Richard Hughes who gave £1,000 and the Pheasant Inn in Woodlands who gave £2,000.”

When Mr Burton was injured he had been riding for Jimmy Fox’s stable in Collingboune Ducis and lived in Collingbourne Kingston, but after six months in Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury, he moved to a ground-floor flat in Hungerford.

He said: “You don’t really think about being injured, you just get on with it and learn to adapt. I was lucky because, being a jockey, I received help from the Injured Jockeys Association.”

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