Cyclist hit by lorry in Old Street completes Channel swim for life-saving London’s Air Ambulance charity

Victoria Lebrec with her team mates after swimming the Channel. Picture: Supplied

Victoria Lebrec with her team mates after swimming the Channel. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A cycle safety campaigner who lost a leg and almost died after a HGV crashed into her has completed a channel swim for charity.

Victoria Lebrec. Picture: Supplied

Victoria Lebrec. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Victoria Lebrec, 28, was cycling in Old Street when a lorry driver collided with her at the junction of Clerkenwell Road in 2014 - the rapid response of the London Air Ambulance helped save her life.

Victoria and a 12-person relay team, including Bill Leaning, a paramedic who treated her after the crash, left England on September 14 and reached France on September 15.

Each person from the relay team swam in 60 minute bursts while the others rested on a boat.

It took them about 14 hours to reach France.

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"When we finished I was elated but exhausted," Victoria told the Gazette.

"It was amazing for me because I met them when I was on the road dying, so it felt really good to have completed something that a lot of able bodied people wouldn't have been able to do.

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"It really was a massive achievement in my recovery.

"They need funds to save people. It's quite an expensive thing to run. If I can do it I think anyone can do it."

She said it was easier swimming once the sun came out because it felt unnatural to be in the water when it was dark.

London Air Ambulance's chief exec Jonathan Jenkins said: "I am so proud of this incredible group of people for taking on the Channel to raise life-saving funds for our cause.

"Funds raised by our Channel swimmers will help ensure we can deliver our rapid response service, helping us be by the side of those who need us, every second of the day."

The lorry driver who hit Victoria pleaded guilty to careless driving but Victoria hugged and forgave him.

London's Air Ambulance delivers a 24/7 advanced trauma team to London's most critically injured. It treats on average five people in London each day, performing medical interventions at the roadside which are normally only found in a hospital emergency department.

The service costs £10 million per year, the majority of which has to be found through donations.

Victoria smashed her £9,000 fundraising target but her JustGiving page is still live - donate here.

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