AN INSPIRATIONAL former Royal Marine is set to become an official mentor for Guinness World Records and help youngsters from any background achieve their dreams.
Lee Spencer, who had a leg amputated after he tried to help in a road accident, has been recruited into the first ever Guinness World Record Mentor Scheme, starting this month.
Lee is the first amputee (and first physically disabled person) to row an ocean solo, and also the fastest ever solo rower of any ability to cross from Europe to South America. He already gives talks to school students about his life and achievements, despite having few advantages and no mentor himself when a youngster.
Other mentors are a weight-lifting unicyclist, a blind climber, an underwater magician and a fast female solo Atlantic rower.
The mentor scheme is open to applications for the chance to win between two and four sessions with their mentor. Each mentor will bring their skills and knowledge to help ignite the teens’ imaginations and boost their confidence to help them turn their dreams into a reality.
Lee has never given up on his dreams and is now training to swim the English Channel this summer. He said he did not have any role models when he was younger and was ‘rubbish’ at everything at school. His ambition was to become a Royal Marine, but was told by a recruiting sergeant he was ‘not the type of person’ they needed.
He said: ‘I remember when I was younger getting the Guinness World Records Book and being inspired by all the amazing things that people had achieved. I didn’t have any positive role models in my life at the time, and any thought that one day I would be a Guinness World Record holder myself and row across the Atlantic, even though I had a leg amputated, was beyond my wildest dreams.
‘When I was at school I was rubbish at everything, even in my best subject of drawing I was not very good and in my favourite sport of football I only scored two goals in four years. I was also booed off stage when showing off my break-dancing and was ungraded in woodwork.’
Lee first rowed the Atlantic as part of the world’s first physically disabled crew of four to row any ocean and has since attempted a swim of the English Channel and a unique UK triathlon devised by himself, but: ‘I tell children in schools that they should dare to dream and learn from failing. Above all, it’s possible to do anything you want to. If you want to be a professor or a doctor or a Marine, then don’t listen to anyone saying that you can’t. If I can be a Marine and work undercover in Afghan and then row across the Atlantic, then anyone can do anything if they really want to.
‘The chance to inspire and help a young person in a way that I wished is a privilege. I hope the mentor scheme will open doors for youngsters that they wouldn’t have thought possible before. It almost certainly won’t happen straight away but working hard and picking yourself up again after even during challenging times is part of the journey. Dream big and never give up. It will happen.’