Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis reaches key milestone in impressive Pig 2 Pig challenge

Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis tells ITV News Meridian's Kerry Swain how the challenge has impacted him so far

Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis says his impressive 350 mile off-shore challenge has so far been 'physically draining'.

Alex, from Stockbridge, is aiming to complete the rowing and cycling expedition from The Pig restaurant at Harlyn Bay to The Pig restaurant at Bridge Place in Canterbury.

He set off on June 2nd and has been on the water from Falmouth heading along the south coast to Dover.

Reaching a key milestone at Hayling Island in Hampshire, Alex told ITV News the conditions have so far been 'brutal but brilliant'.

Alex Lewis has made it to Hayling Island Credit: Instagram / @alexlewisalff

"It's been amazing so far, but physically, way beyond anything that we've ever done before. The physicality of it is just completely alien, really.

"You are strapped in that seat for between seven and 10 hours all day and you know, you're throwing your back against the back of the seat, dealing with the tide and the current and the wind and the rain today...the elements are brutal but brilliant.

"Baring in mind I've a never off-shore rowed until a week ago Monday when we started the event, we were literally thrown in at the deep end. We were so green to even get in the boat and give it a go".

Alex Lewis had all four limbs amputated 11 years ago after contracting the deadly infection Strep A.

Alex had to have all four limbs amputated after contracting Strep A. Credit: Alex Lewis

The trailblazer rows in a wheelchair seat fixed with gaffer tape, at night he and his team of volunteers are camping, while his bed is a tent on top of a van.

Alex admits it's been tough with the salt water on his prosthetics are causing irritation.

He said, "Luckily we've got the medic Geoff with us but salt water and liners and prosthetics just don't mix very well and we're not really sure how badly they mix yet because we've only been testing them in the last eight, nine days.

"It's all very new in terms of the attachments and how the prosthetics work, how the liner is working in seawater."

The Pig 2 Pig fundraising challenge is highlighting Alex's charity, The Float Foundation, which aims to show how people, regardless of their ability, can fully participate and thrive in their community.

Money raised is also being used to support people in Ukraine who've become amputees through the war in Russia.

He said, "I've not been dealt a bad hand. You know, I'm very fortunate. I live an amazing, incredible life. I would never be doing this away and then that amazing support. But I know a lot of people don't have that.

"So it's about helping them, just giving them the impetus to think, god, if he can do it, then what can we do?

"It's just linking institutions, universities, charities together to enable people with disabilities do much, much more and to be more inclusive. I think it's inclusivity, really. And we've all been in a point in our lives where getting up in the morning is really hard.

Anaesthetist Geoff Watson checks Alex over Credit: ITV News

"We've all been in a point in our lives where getting up in the morning is really hard. You don't want to face the day, you don't want to go ahead and go to work or go to school, whatever it may be.

"If you have disability onto that, then it's much, much worse. So how do we help not just people with disability, but also people that are struggling in their day to day life?"

Anaesthetist Geoff Watson is one of those supporting Alex on the challenge and says he's been moved by his incredible effort,

"I have been close to tears every day, watching the way people interact with him and the way he makes it not about him.

"He's never once made it about him. It's about his family, and it's about helping other people and trying to make disability into more of a different ability and to promote helping people who just maybe need a little bit of help and inspiring people to come up with better ideas to help them that don't cost a fortune, that can can support any kind of disability, whether it's mental or physical.

"Alex is a very obvious amount of disability, but you wouldn't know. He's rowing the south coast of England like a superhero, and I'm just trying to keep up with him."

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