A FORMER soldier who suffers from a crippling disease has beaten the odds to drive 1,500 miles across the continent.

Scooter enthusiast Richard Williams, from Connah’s Quay, suffers from the debilitating neurological condition Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), which leaves him in constant pain and makes walking difficult.

Richard, 47, undertook the gruelling 1,500 mile, two-week trip from Gibraltar to the UK on his Vespa scooter to raise money for Help for Heroes.

Before the disease took hold he served as a trooper in the C Squadron of the Queens Own Yeomanary, based at the Fox Barrcaks in Chester, for nine years.

His condition, which affects both the motor and sensory nerves and causes muscles to waste away, is getting progressively worse as he gets older and has now left him unable to work.

In the past 18 months he has undergone 11 operations on his feet, which have clawed as a result of the disease.

Despite the pain he did not let it hold him back on his fundraising adventure.

He said: “I struggled a little bit with the heat because my feet were swelling up, but my friends helped me through it and we all pulled together.”

Richard was accompanied by seven of his scooter club friends and the group managed to raise £15,000 for charity.

“We called ourselves the Magnificent Seven, because even though there are eight of us one of our colleagues is only 4ft tall so we classed him as zero,” he joked.

“In Gibraltar we had 42 degree heat, but then in Spain we had torrential storms, thunder and landslides, but fortunately we all made it back in one piece.”