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First double-amputee to finish London Marathon

824. Clare Forbes

Clare Forbes, from Sussex, is the first female double-amputee to walk the London Marathon.

Clare contracted meningitis B in 2001, putting her in a coma for 6 months, during which she had a stroke, brain haemorrhage and had both legs amputated. She was told told she would never walk again. Against the odds she achieved her London Marathon milestone in 2005 and since finishing this remarkable challenge has walked over 30 international charity events. In this time she has raised approximately £80,000 for different charities, including the ‘Douglas Bader Foundation’, the organisation founded by the family of the RAF hero Sir Douglas Bader that helps people affected by limb loss and other disabilities. She has also been a representative with ‘Models of Diversity’ for the past three years, a charity that promotes models that reflect diversity.

In a personal letter to Clare, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Your achievement of being the first female double-amputee to walk the London Marathon is truly inspirational and a testament to your strength and determination in spite of incredibly challenging personal circumstances. Your tireless fundraising shows real dedication and is making a vital difference to the work of the ‘Douglas Bader Foundation.’”

Clare said:

“I want to start by saying how over the moon and honoured I am to receive such an amazing award. I can’t express how much this means to me to be recognised in this way.

The London Marathon was an incredible experience. Yes, it was painful and a lot longer than what I thought! My main goal was to not let any of my sponsors down. I wanted to raise money to help others but wanted to prove a point that yes I am an amputee but I can do it! It took me 19 hours 10 minutes and on the last five miles I dislocated my hip. Six months later I completed the New York Marathon in 12 hours 7 minutes.

My journey with ‘Models of Diversity’ started three years ago when my carer Jo Prince put me forward for a competition on their website which I won. Angel Sinclair then invited me to start voluntarily modelling and this just made me feel on top of the world. Modelling for ‘Models of Diversity’ has helped me build my confidence and made me feel beautiful again after losing both legs to meningitis 16 years ago. Angel Sinclair has been a huge help and made me feel I can make a difference for disabled models and get us noticed more.”

Angel Sinclair, Founder of ‘Models of Diversity’, said:

Clare has given so much time and energy to ‘Models of Diversity’ charity voluntary service for the past three years. We are truly proud of her winning this award.”


The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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