Royal Marine veteran Mark Ormrod cycles across Devon for charity

  • Mark Ormrod speaks to ITV News West Country as he leaves Yelverton.

A former Royal Marine and triple amputee is cycling almost 100 miles overnight to raise money for charity.

Mark Ormrod set off this afternoon, Thursday 7 October, using a specially adapted hand-cycle to travel from Ilfracombe to Plymouth.

He's raising the money for Reorg, a charity that supports service people, veterans and emergency service personnel.

Mark was the first triple-amputee to survive the war in Afghanistan. In 2007, he was seriously injured after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED).

As a result of the explosion, Mark had to have both his legs and his right arm amputated.

Now, he hopes raising the money will help other people who have served in the military or emergency services.

Mark Ormrod was the first triple amputee to survive the war in Afghanistan.

During his recovery, Mark was told he would probably spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

But a visit from a veteran who'd lost both his legs inspired Mark and - after a lot of hard work - he learnt to walk and then run on prosthetics, eventually competing in the Invictus Games and winning medals in a variety of disciplines.

'Under no illusion this will be comfortable'

The veteran has had to train extremely hard for the 99.9 mile challenge and has had final adjustments made to his custom cycle.

Speaking during one of his practice sessions, he said: "It's going to hurt, I know it is.

"There's lots of nuts and bolts on this prosthetic [arm] that will cut the skin and the strap under the armpit - there's a lot of rubbing and chafing. I'm under no illusion that this is going to be uncomfortable.

"But we've got a good team and that is what's going to get us through it."

Its hoped Mark will finish around 15 hours after starting off, at some point on Friday morning.

Mark chatting with Harry and Meghan at the Invictus trials in Bath in 2018. Credit: PA

The bike ride is the final stage of Mark's fundraising for Reorg this year. The published author began raising money by holding a sponsored beard shave, which saw him exceed a £1,000 target within hours.

The success of his first challenge led him to take on a sponsored 5k run. While training for the race, a video of Mark falling over on his blades led to donations surging.

Mark Ormrod running on prosthetic blades during training.

A third fundraising challenge, a swim from Drake's Island back to Devil's Point in Plymouth, led to donations increasing yet further.

In total, Mark has already raised more than £470,000, ahead of his cycling challenge.

'Very privileged to be close to Mark'

Throughout his training and the different challenges, Mark has been accompanied by fellow former Royal Marine, best friend and trainer, Ben Wadham.

Ben said: "We're very close. We speak daily, we call daily. I'm a very privileged person to be able to be as close to Mark, and soak up what he delivers as a human being really."

He believes the biggest challenge of today's cycle race will be working throughout the night.

Ben said: "Navigation at night is a little bit harder because you can't see as far ahead, and he may miss some signs.

"Also, none of us have prepared by staying up at night and sleeping during the day, so sleep deprivation will probably fall in at some point during the evening, as well."

'It probably won't be the last thing we do'

As a result of his charity work, Mark was recently named ITV West Country's Pride of Britain regional fundraiser of the year.

Despite being a triple amputee, Mark completed a sponsored swim - raising thousands in the process. Credit: ITV West Country

Ahead of the cycle-ride, Mark was asked how he felt about his fundraising challenge coming to a close. He said: "It's bittersweet. I'm quite relieved that I can take the next few weeks off and unwind.

"But I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed being around the lads, I enjoyed the mission, I enjoyed the good vibes that it brings and put out into the world.

"It probably won't be the last thing that we do, but for now, for this year, it absolutely will be."