Paracycling ambition of man with pellet in his head
9:01am Monday 29th October 2012 in News
A CYCLIST who was shot in the head as a boy has his sights set on training with the Paralympians.
Danny Walmsley, who grew up in Bolton, was only 14 when a friend shot him with an airgun at point-blank range in a prank that went wrong on a camping trip in Kearsley.
But even though the 33-year-old made a good recovery after initially being paralysed, he admits he finds it hard to stay upbeat about his health.
Mr Walmsley, who lives in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is now exploring the possibility of having the pellet removed with doctors at Leeds General Infirmary.
According to recent scans, the pellet is moving towards Mr Walmsley’s spinal chord.
The father-of-two, who went to Withins School (now St Catherine’s Academy), said: “Over the years the pellet has moved with gravity’s pull.
“It’s got to the point where I can hardly stand up sometimes. All of my right side is affected and I have severe neck pain — it’s like I’ve had a stroke.
“The thing is I’m only 33 and I don’t want to go the knacker’s yard just yet.”
He left school with no qualifications and worked as a labourer.
Until doctors find a definite solution, Mr Walmsley is turning to cycling to improve his physical and mental health, helped by the support of his girlfriend Donna Davidson, aged 33.
Last year, he was part of the three-man Lancashire Road Club squad that won The Rake Hill Climb in Ramsbottom, and he took on the challenge for the second time yesterday.
In the summer, Mr Walmsley met with the paracylcling team at the Manchester Velodrome to see if he can be classified as a disabled athlete.
He said: “I have never classed myself as disabled, but I do have a disability.
“Being classified and being able to train with the paracyclists would help massively because they have similar difficulties.
“The Paralympics has definitely brought on the support leaps and bounds.”
Mr Walmsley completed the challenge in three minutes 42 seconds, which was much slower than his time last year of three minutes 16 seconds.
The challenge’s winner, Jack Pullar, from Wheelbase.co.uk, completed the course in two minutes 21 seconds.