Lee Spencer

The Rowing Marine

Not defined by disability

Dare to dream and if you don’t fail, you’re not dreaming big enough

Lee’s Story

Born in Dagenham, made in The Royal Marines. Lee lives in Devon and was a serving Royal Marine for 24 years. After coming through three operational tours of Afghanistan unscathed, Lee lost his right leg after being hit by flying debris as he was helping a motorist who had crashed into the central reservation of the M3 in Surrey in 2014. Although his right leg was severed in the impact, the serviceman’s training kicked in and he was able to instruct bystanders on how to tie a tourniquet and help paramedics to save his life.

Following a medically induced coma, five weeks in hospital and a long stay in rehabilitation, while recovering from his injuries Lee began planning his future. In 2014 Lee was shortlisted for the Pride of Britain award, see below.

In 2015 Lee set-off to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in just a rowing boat. The Row2Recovery team, a team of four injured veterans had just 3 legs between them. In February 2016, some 46 days, 6 hours and 49 minutes later the team rowed into land as the first British military all amputee team of four to row an ocean.

Following this, Lee became the world’s first physically disabled person to row from mainland Europe to mainland South America on his own, The Rowing Marine, breaking two World records in 2019.

Lee’s next challenge is an Amazonian kayaking trip with Forces of Nature traversing the South American continent from Nauto (Peru) through the Amazon basin in Brazil to the Atlantic coast.

I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations. It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. I feel passionately about raising awareness of this and challenging these preconceptions. Disabilities vary and they aren’t just physical either, I hope I am able to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise awareness and funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me. Lee Spencer

Our Charities

The Endeavour Fund is a programme managed by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. It supports wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation. The fund plays an important role in ensuring that more Servicemen and women have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges. More information can be found at www.endeavourfund.co.uk.

Royal Marines have always been the first to understand, first to adapt and respond and the first to overcome – that’s the Commando Mindset but today Royal Marines and their families are fighting battles they cannot win alone. We are the Royal Marines’ own Charity and are uniquely placed to understand, respond and react, enabling Marines and their families to overcome their challenges including life changing injury, life limiting illness, mental disability, transition to civilian life and even poverty. We can target your support across every need to ensure no one is left behind.The Commando Mindset isn’t always enough, with your help the Royal Marines Family will win their battles. Our mission is to raise resource and provide the best possible charitable support for Royal Marines, veterans and their families. More information can be found at www.theroyalmarinescharity.org.uk.