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Iain and the Leythmobile

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A RUGBY superfan is refusing to let his disabilities prevent him supporting his favourite team.

Iain Gregory, from Butts Bridge, lost the use of both his arms and suffered a spinal injury in a horror motorcycling accident aged just 19, but has battled back from adversity and put his life back together.

He has become a familiar sight at Leigh Centurions matches riding a spectacular modified cycle painted in team colours which he calls the Leythmobile.

He now follows his favourite rugby league side to both home and away matches and drives a specially-adapted car which is controlled by a footpad instead of the steering wheel in addition to the three-wheeled Leythmobile, which was built in Germany and is the only one of its type in the country.

Iain, 28, said: “Obviously my accident was a life-changing experience. I had to come to terms with what had happened and the first 12 months were really tough.

“I just started going down to watch the rugby again and I’ve probably been a hardcore supporter since about 2007.

“I had to go out to Germany to get the bike and once I had it I decided to put a big Centurions flag on the back and ride to the stadium on it every home game.

“The Leigh Sports Village (LSV) has been brilliant and they let me lock it inside the ground, because it’s quite an expensive piece of kit.”

The seven-foot long trike has a column attached to the seat connected to the axles, which enables Iain to control the machine by leaning to the left or right.

Ian can also take to the road in an adapted automatic Ford Focus which he steers with his left foot while using his heel to start the car and operating indicators at the side of his head.

Iain, of Warrington Road, went to Europe to collect the Leythmobile in 2012, and says getting back into the saddle for the first time in several years was an exciting moment.

He said: “It was a brilliant feeling getting to ride again and it was surprising because I took to it quite quickly.

“I used to enjoy both motorbiking and pedal cycling before my accident, so it was a great experience. It was quite easy and I was soon doing manoeuvres on it.

“People are really puzzled by how it works and it’s good to see some of the reactions when I’m riding it around Leigh.”

Iain has already started using the Leythmobile to help other people, taking part in last year’s 63-mile Manchester to Blackpool charity ride.

He recently got a surprise on the eve of the new rugby league season when he was asked to visit the LSV to meet the players at training and get the Leythmobile’s flag signed.

The visit was arranged by the club’s commercial manager and former forward Rob Parker, who got to know Iain after the Centurions’ triumph in the Northern Rail Cup Final last year.

Rob is not the only Centurion Iain knows as he played the 13-man code as a junior for Leigh Miners Rangers, where his compatriots included current first-team player Mick Govin.

Rob said: “Iain is truly remarkable and an inspiring man. He never misses a game of rugby and comes to all our events.

“He wanted to get his flag signed so I invited him down to training to get a picture with all the lads. It’s nice to be able to show how much we appreciate people like Iain who support us.”

 

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