Alton Towers amputee Leah Washington cycles around Central Park

‘Ticked another thing off my to do list!’ Alton Towers amputee Leah Washington cycles around Central Park unaided as she shares snaps of New York trip with boyfriend Joe Pugh

  • Leah Washington posted photos of herself and her family on bikes in New York
  • The amputee, 21, was also joined by her boyfriend of three years, Joe Pugh
  • Ms Washington, from South Yorkshire, lost her leg in rollercoaster crash in 2015
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Alton Towers amputee Leah Washington cycled around Central Park unaided during a trip to New York with her boyfriend Joe Pugh. 

Ms Washington posted photographs of herself and her family on bicycles in the inner-city park to social media on Friday.

In the caption, she wrote: ‘Last day in New York and today I ticked another thing off my to do list.


Leah Washington posted photographs of herself and her family on bicycles in Central Park, New York on Friday


The amputee (pictured with Louise Washington, left, Luke Washington, second from left, Joe Pugh, and David Washington, right) had cycled around the park for the first time

‘I cycled around Central Park.’ 

Mr Pugh also posted snaps to Instagram of the pair stood on the High Line – a mile-long elevated park nestled on a former New York Central Railroad. 

He wrote: ‘Final day in NYC today. It’s been a blast.’

The couple, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, had only been together for six weeks when they were injured in the rollercoaster crash at the Staffordshire theme park.


Her boyfriend of three years, Joe Pugh, had also posted pictures of the couple’s trip to New York to his Instagram page

Ms Washington was forced to have her left leg amputated following the crash while Mr Pugh’s knees were so damaged he had to learn to walk again. 

The pair were visiting New York alongside Ms Washington’s mother Louise, father David and brother Luke – all of whom posed for photographs in the park. 

The group were wrapped up warm in thick coats, hats, and scarves as they made their way around the park in cold winter weather. 

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The amputee, who uses a £60,000 prosthetic leg to walk unaided, has remained extremely active after being forced to learn to walk again three years ago.

Ms Washington, who often documents her recovery on Instagram, posted a clip of herself running on a track alongside her trainer Carolyn Hirons in October.

She said: ‘Thanks to Carolyn for pushing me through the pain and getting me to where I am now.’


The amputee shared photographs of her romantic holiday in Cape Verde with her boyfriend Joe Pugh earlier this year

Ms Washington also recently shared pictures of her romantic holiday in Cape Verde with her boyfriend.

She posted the set of three images on her account along with the caption: ‘BEACH BUM just out here living my best life & feeling great having the best holiday with the best group of friends & boyfriend.’

The break was well-deserved, as just a month earlier, in August, the amputee revealed she is taking dance lessons amid a series of fitness challenges she has set herself.


Ms Washington shared a picture of herself on a running track with her trainer Carolyn Hirons after running her first mile in years in May


‘Yesterdays track session was my best so far, thanks to Carolyn for pushing me through the pain and getting me to where I am now,’ she wrote alongside a video showing her running along the track in the autumnal weather

Ms Washington took to Twitter to share the news that she had completed ‘another challenge’ after spending the summer learning how to run, climb, and trampoline.

She had been working with Pace Rehabilitation, a provider of amputee rehabilitation services, throwing herself into an array of activities to learn how to walk with her prosthetic leg.

The 21-year-old also posted to social media in May in celebration of running her first mile in years. 

She said: ‘Another goal achieved! Thank you to Carolyn and Howard for helping me achieve another goal.

‘Yesterday I ran my first mile in many years, even though it was the hardest mile ever I’m happy with my achievements and can’t wait to improve’.

What happened during the Alton Towers Smiler crash?

On June 2, 2015, visitors were removed from the Alton Towers Smiler ride after a warning light indicated a fault.

Staff sent a test train around the track, but it didn’t make it around. Due to a breakdown in communication, staff did not realise this carrigage was still sitting on the track.

Passengers were let back on but as the first carriage made its way around, the computer system stopped it because it showed something was blocking the track.

Engineers were still not aware that there was a fifth carriage sitting on the track and overrode a fault which had been detected by the computer system, sending the ride crashing into an empty carriage with the force of a ’90mph car crash’.

At least 16 were injured and five people were seriously hurt. 

Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and Vicky Balch from Leyland, Lancashire, were both forced to undergo leg amputations as a result of the horror crash.


The Smiler at Alton Park, where 16 people were injured in a 2015 collision (file picture). An investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary car on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash

Joe Pugh, also from Barnsley, and Daniel Thorpe, 28, from Buxton, Derbyshire, also suffered serious leg injuries, along with 49-year-old Chandaben Chauhan.

The trapped ride-goers had to wait more than four hours to be freed from the crumpled carriage while rescue workers battled to reach them as they sat 25ft up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees, pinned in by the mangled metal. 

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