Claire Lomas: Matt Hampson impressed me more than any star
She has been feted by celebrities including Hugh Grant, Sir Richard Branson and even the Prime Minister.
But the man who has impressed paralysed marathon walker Claire Lomas the most is Matt Hampson.
Claire, 32, of Eye Kettleby, near Melton, was paralysed from the chest down in a horse-riding accident five years ago.
She was joined by a host of celebrities as she walked the marathon in a robotic suit.
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Among those who have stayed in touch are Olympic hero Sir Matthew Pinsent, TV presenters Gabby Logan, Claire Balding and Dan Lobb, former tennis star Tim Henman and explorer Ben Fogle.
She is due to attend a party being hosted by Virgin boss Branson at a Kensington restaurant in a fortnight.
She said: "It has been fantastic meeting all these people, especially the ones who did part of the walk with me.
"They've all been really nice, genuine, down-to-earth people, but if you ask me who has impressed me most out of all the people I've met, it still has to be Matt Hampson."
The paralysed former Leicester Tigers player was alongside Claire for part of the walk in his wheelchair.
The Matt Hampson Foundation, which he set up to inspire and support young people injured thorough sport, has donated £10,000 towards Claire's £43,000 ReWalk suit, which she should receive in September.
She said: "Matt is a great bloke and a good friend who has inspired me so much.
"It's lovely to meet all the famous people who have been brilliant with their support and attracting publicity for Spinal Research.
"But it's Matt who has impressed me most because of the work he does for others."
Matt, who was today launching the fourth annual charity walk from Rugby School to Twickenham for his foundation, said: "I'm gobsmacked, that really surprises me.
"Claire has rightly attracted a lot of attention from celebrities and the media and she is an inspirational person that we wanted to help through the foundation."
Former British modern pentathlete Kate Allenby is leading a Twitter campaign to get Claire nominated for the Helen Rollason Award, given "for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity", which is part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event.
Claire has raised almost £200,000 for Spinal Research – four times her original target.
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