Lee Spencer BEM joined the Royal Marine Commandos in 1992. He completed operational tours of Northern Ireland and Iraq where he led a section in the first wave on the assault of the Al Faw peninsular. Lee then served as a troop Sergeant before qualifying for special duties and subsequently undertook 3 tours of Afghanistan often working in an undercover and covert role.
In January 2014 whilst helping motorists who had crashed into a motorway central reservation, Lee lost his right leg below the knee having been hit by debris from a further crash. Conscious throughout, Lee was able to utilise his military training to save his own life by instructing a passer-by to apply a tourniquet. Lee was awarded the High Chief Constables award for his selfless actions on the night.
In 2015 as a crew member of Row2Recovery’s all amputee crew of four, Lee rowed across the Atlantic from La Gomera in the Canaries to Antigua and into the Guinness world record books as the first physically disabled crew of four to row any ocean.
In January 2019, after several postponements due to a family bereavement and adverse weather conditions, Lee set off from Portimao, Portugal to attempt rowing solo and unsupported from mainland Europe to mainland South America. 60 days, 16 hours and 6 minutes later he rowed into Cayenne, French Guiana not only becoming the first physically disabled person to do so and completing the longest solo row of any disabled person, he also beat the able bodied record by an astonishing 36 days: A further 3 Guinness World Records. In December 2019 Lee was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to charity.
A natural and engaging speaker, Lee’s incredible personal story of courage, leadership and overcoming adversity has captivated a range of audiences: From business conferences to after dinner gala events and the England football team in their pre 2018 World Cup training camp.
“You’ve inspired thousands if not millions of people. Anyone who comes up against struggles on a day to day basis. Honestly I have so much respect for you mate, Thankyou for being such a massive Legend”
“They spent some time with us as a group of staff and players, and then they spent some time with the players on their own, talking about different things which I’m not in the loop on. They have incredible stories. They give huge perspective to what we’re involved in.”
“There were some brilliant and inspirational stories shared and when those guys walk in it has a big impact on the group. It’s good for us to step out of our world at times.”
That was a real eye-opener, He’s been through adversity and he’s not going to let that stop him
I was really inspired by your visit to the DMRC event on Tuesday. If I can take one thing from your talk it would be solid determination to succeed no matter what. You are a massive influence on me from now on and I wish you the best of everything for the future! An absolute pleasure to meet you and be in the presence of a living legend
Mathew Wood CeMap CertPFS DipFA
Excellent – had some guests in tears with his down to earth matter of fact recounting of his accident and subsequent struggles. Audiences warmed to him immediately. A lovely man . An excellent Stage Interview – well attended.. He spoke from the heart without notes – a humble man. Audiences loved him
Lee recently gave the keynote speaker address to J.P. Morgan employees as part of the Firm’s global ‘Diversity Week’ events. Lee delivered an exceedingly frank and personal talk on his ‘Journey’ and the challenges and achievements that have shaped his life.
He was adept at easily being able to translate it into an event that colleagues across our Company, from all walks of life, diverse countries, communities and cultural boundaries were able to relate to and his message about ‘not being defined by disability’ is one that anyone can find some level of empathy and understanding of.
An inspirational man, showing what can be achieved regardless of the situation and a lesson for us all in this fast-paced corporate world we live in.
I have no reservation in recommending Lee as a speaker and would encourage everyone to hear his story and be inspired and moved by him. –
Dominic Conway, Digital Product Manager,
Lee is quite simply an inspirational motivational speaker who is perfect for any kind of audience of whatever size and age. He has the skill to read those present in a room, and to pitch his delivery just right for them, whether they are global businesspeople or primary school children. Though his personal passion is challenging being defined by disability, his story is about understanding a challenge, adapting and overcoming, and so is suitable for many situations in work or personal life. He speaks clearly and is always to the point, with warmth and appropriate humour, and in the right setting has people on the floor in laughter. He is a larger than life character, wearing his emotions on his sleeve – he can shed a tear himself, or have others shedding them. He is deeply loyal to the Royal Marines who made him what he is – a multiple world record holder, but he carries himself with humility and sincerity, and never belittles those who aren’t superhumans like he is! He is a diamond geezer from London, but would go down well anywhere in the world!
Chief Executive The Royal Marines Charity
I’ve heard Lee speak on a number of occasions and I’m always amazed at how he tells his incredible story with the most humble of deliveries. No one can deny the lows and the highs that he must have experienced, but Lee’s modesty allows the audience to take the journey alongside him, instead of describing experiences that are beyond comprehension. Lee is authentic, inspirational and always entertaining.
INVICTUS games Athlete and head of Programmes at the Royal Foundation .
Supporting Those Who Serve
Lee (Frank) Spencer (aka the Rowing Marine) gave a talk at one of our SRM Alumni Networking Evenings and left the audience buzzing. From Security Consultants through to analysts, he engaged with the whole audience telling his stories & delivering messages to include some humour so that everyone could relate. He spoke from experience and from the heart, identifying the limitations we all insist on putting on ourselves at times and how to overcome them. Feedback from the whole SRM Alumni was that he had been the best and most inspiring Speaker to date and really contributed to making our event a huge success.
Lee had a great story to tell in a straight forward manner, that really gets you thinking. Highly recommended.
Lee gave and inspirational talk at our regions recent annual get together. Having heard Lee’s story before I knew what was to come but despite that he still had me on the verge of tears one minute and laughing the next. I still think his story is unbelievable. I am in awe of all that he has achieved; which is truly incredible. Lee is an engaging speaker and his story captivated the whole audience. At the end of the day everyone was talking about how amazing he is and how much they enjoyed hearing from him. Thank you Lee and good luck with your next adventure.
Lisa Gunner Thompsons Solicitors
“At Sightsavers we are passionate about promoting equal opportunities for people with visual impairments and other disabilities and are also committed to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation to work for. Lee visited Sightsavers as part of a series of events we run to introduce staff to wider inclusion and accessibility topics and he proved to be a great hit! Lee spoke from the heart and delivered a truly engaging talk that was moving, funny and totally inspiring. Lee was a true professional and even when we had a couple of small technical issues due to live-streaming the talk to our country offices, he handled it all in his stride and with good humour! The message behind Lee’s talk, that no one should be defined by their disability, either mental or physical, was incredibly powerful and a sentiment we all share at Sightsavers.
Helen Ashby, Global Events Manager, Sightsavers”
Paul Allen DipPFS
Principal of Paul Allen Wealth Management Senior Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to reiterate my huge thanks for sharing your story with us at MoJ today – your frankness, delivery, humour, and warmth as a human being, not to forget determination (and so many other qualities) was really quite extraordinary.
Speaking and listening to various staff today, everyone was immensely grateful, inspired, touched and truly humbled by you (a few tears in the room too!). Civil servants are rarely so fortunate to have such a special encounter!
All power to you… a truly great man. We are so honoured that you gave your time to us today. I’ll never forget that – so much I can learn from you as I try to be a better leader.
Carl Von Reibnitz, Home office and Sustainability Director, Estates Directorate, Ministry of Justice.