A MAN who was told he would never walk again after breaking his spine in a diving accident is now hand-biking his way to Paris to raise money for Spinal Research.

Michael Buckley, 29, of Chapel Road, Flackwell Heath, will make the trip from Greenwich to Dover on Wednesday, June 7, before catching the ferry to Calais where he will cycle to Paris via the French cathedral town of Beauvais.

He hopes to raise at least £1,400 for Spinal Research on his four-day, 285-mile journey as the charity aims to find a cure for the paralysis caused by spinal injury.

The cause is particularly close to Mr Buckley's heart as he badly injured his spine nine years ago when he dived off a bridge in Cookham.

He said: "I know personally the devastating effects of paralysis. When I was 21 I was showing off to a couple of girls and I just didn't look at how deep or shallow the water was. When I first did it I had no feeling from the neck down. It was a life-changing experience for me because I was always very active and I didn't know what was going to come of it. But when I got some feeling back I also got a bit of hope."

Mr Buckley's accident was in 1998 but, after spending eight months in Stoke Mandeville spinal unit, he was up on crutches by the following year.

He said: "I'm up and walking again now with a crutch and I use my wheelchair when I need to. The left side of my body remains affected by the injury my left leg, hand and arm."

Mr Buckley now works for Smart Risk UK, which sees him spend his time talking to young people about risk management how they can have a good time without putting their safety at risk.

He explains to them what he did to himself and what he could have done to prevent it from happening.

The keen cyclist has already taken his three-wheeled hand-bike, which sees him pedal with his arms as he sits down with his legs in front of him, across southern Spain in 2001 in aid of the charity Regain.

He also cycled in the Dublin marathon in 2003 for the charity Whizz-kidz and pushed his way around London in the London Pride 10k Fun Run. He is planning to make a documentary of his latest adventure to Paris and, before he sets off, is busy training hard in the gym. He said: "I just hope it's not raining."

If you would like to sponsor Michael visit: www.justgiving.com/mikebuckley