Inspirational Zara completes walk five years after life-changing crash

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after arriving at Ness Point, Lowestoft.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after arriving at Ness Point, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

They were chased by cows, had to climb over fallen trees and even change routes during a month-long challenge.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters at Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters at Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

But an inspirational woman who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash abroad more than five-and-a-half years ago proved nothing will stand in her way on a 500-mile West to East charity walk.

Back in September 2016, Zara Dyer - then aged 29 - was fighting for her life in hospital in the USA.

After making a remarkable recovery from life-threatening injuries, there were emotional scenes as she completed 'One Million Steps to Raise One Million Pennies'.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with supporters at Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with supporters at Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

Launching The Side to Side Challenge on May 3, Miss Dyer and her full time carer and partner Ian Brown, from Loddon, walked West to East - from St David's in Pembrokeshire on the west Wales coast arriving at Ness Point in Lowestoft - the most easterly point in Britain - on Saturday, July 2.

As they completed the challenge for the Lowestoft-based registered charity 3 Million Steps - an organisation that supports sufferers of brain injuries and their carers - the inspirational walkers were met by councillors, friends, family and supporters.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with Lions Club members at Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with Lions Club members at Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

Almost six years ago, Miss Dyer was working in the Caribbean as a scuba diving instructor.

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She was making her way back to her home in Grand Cayman when she suffered a freak seizure at the wheel of her car that led to a horrific crash into a wall.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters approaching Ness Point

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters approaching Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

She suffered long-term brain damage, with her injuries - which included a broken neck, complete paralysis on her right hand side, fractures to her shoulder, back and upper part of her body and six bleeds on the brain - so severe that her family were warned they should fly out to see her immediately.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters at Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown with family, friends and supporters approach Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

Having undergone an intensive programme of treatment and rehabilitation ever since, Miss Dyer set up the 3 Million Steps charity with Mr Brown - with The Side to Side Challenge their latest charity walk.

Members of Lions clubs from Lowestoft, Bungay and Great Yarmouth and the mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green were among those greeting he intrepid pair at the finish line at Ness Point.

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Mr Brown said: "We were chased by cows, had to battle through overgrown paths, climb over fallen trees and even change routes completely when we found paths missing.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown approaching Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown approaching Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

"On the whole the weather was good, but we had a few days where we started in torrential rain that just didn’t stop."

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after arriving at Ness Point, Lowestoft.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after arriving at Ness Point, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With more than 20 people joining the pair on the final day's walk from Worlingham to Ness Point, Miss Dyer said: "It was great, and it made us feel that actually people had heard about what we were doing.

"Having not only family and friends old and new but also the Mayor of Lowestoft and members of the Lions from Lowestoft, Bungay and Great Yarmouth clubs there to offer their support, it made finishing that bit more emotional."

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown are greeted by the mayor of Lowestoft after arriving at Ness Point.

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown are greeted by the mayor of Lowestoft after arriving at Ness Point. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mr Green congratulated the duo on a "wonderful effort" as he greeted Zara, Ian and all involved at the finish line last Saturday.

A town council spokesman added: "Lowestoft Town Council were proud to sponsor Zara as she raised money to support brain injury survivors and their families."

To pledge support visit its charity website.