19 April 2024

‘Jason was an inspiration to everyone around him’

by Rebecca Hannant

The family of a determined fundraiser and “Superman” with motor neurone disease have paid tribute after his death earlier this week.

Jason Liversidge, of Rise, had made headlines in recent years after undertaking several fundraising challenges despite battling his own condition.

On August 5, his wife Liz announced that Jason had died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family.

She said: “Jason Liversidge died peacefully at home surrounded by his girls at 22.59 on August 5, 2023.

“Thank you for being the best husband and father that we could ask for. You will be forever young and remain alive always in our hearts and minds. We love you! Fly free, my love.”

Jason was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013, aged 37, and became paralysed from the neck down. He had previously been diagnosed with Fabry disease, which has also been passed on to his daughters.

Despite his diagnosis, Jason continued to be a determined family man to his wife and children. He also used his condition to raise awareness of motor neurone disease and went on to break two world records among other challenges.

Jason broke the record for the fastest speed in a mobility-vehicle (prototype) in September 2020, reaching 66.826 mph (107.546 km/h).

In 2022, he also set the record for the fastest speed achieved by a head-operated electric mobility vehicle (prototype), reaching 48.42 mph (77.92 km/h). Both records were achieved at Elvington – and he was nicknamed Superman by his daughters Poppy and Lilly.

In 2017, Jason climbed Mount Snowdon – the highest point in Wales at 1,085m (3,560ft) – in his wheelchair, as well as abseiling from the Humber Bridge.

Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, said: “We deal with the world’s most determined and motivated human beings here at Guinness World Records, but even among this elite group of record holders, Jason stood out as being uniquely inspirational.

“His passion and persistence – in the face of a such a destructive physical condition – energised everyone around him, and it was always wonderful to see him welcomed so warmly on to the racetracks by his fellow thrill-seekers.

“With the help from his loving family, Jason never stopped wringing absolutely everything out of life, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to be present at his record attempts and to document his story in the GWR books. A great loss.”

Jason’s legacy of raising awareness and fundraising inspired numerous local people, communities and clubs.

A representative from the Beverley and District Motor Club said: “He leaves an incredible legacy, having twice broken the Guinness World Record for the fastest electric wheelchair, controlling his adapted motorised chair with his head.

“After his first successful attempt, at Elvington racetrack, in 2020, Jason achieved a second world speed record last August, again at Elvington, for the fastest head-controlled electric wheelchair.

“Jason campaigned endlessly to raise money for charity and took on several extreme challenges – including the longest zip wire in Europe, becoming the first person to summit Mount Snowdon in an electric wheelchair and abseiling off the Humber Bridge.

“He inspired us to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association as one of the East Riding Stages Rally’s nominated charities. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

His determination and fundraising touched the hearts of many, and in 2015, the family’s home was the subject of a DIY SOS Big Build, when tradesmen joined the BBC’s DIY SOS team to make Jason’s family home in Rise wheelchair- accessible. The renovations also included an adapted bedroom and washroom.

Jason suffered a cardiac arrest in 2022 and was resuscitated by his wife and carers. He was undergoing dialysis three times a week and receiving 24-hour care from carers. His wife Liz dedicated the past few years to caring for him and their daughters.

On August 4, Jason had a medical emergency and was admitted to hospital. After the family received the news that he was not going to make it, he returned home and died peacefully on August 5 surrounded by his wife and children.

In his memory, a family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help contribute towards funeral expenses.

They said: “I would like to help ease the financial burden and ensure Jason gets the send-off he truly deserves. Jason has touched many people’s hearts and deserves a beautiful send-off.

“Any money left over from funeral expenses will help the two girls Lilly and Poppy to adjust to life without their ‘super dad’ while facing a lifetime of Fabry disease.”

To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/jason-liversidge-funeral.