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Disabled climber faces leg amputation after charity climb of Ben Nevis

Shaun Gash during the climb. Credit Jeremy Duxbury
Shaun Gash during the climb. Credit Jeremy Duxbury

A disabled climber faces losing his lower right leg after it became trapped under his wheelchair while climbing Ben Nevis.

Shaun Gash suffered serious injuries during his ascent of the UK’s highest mountain while fundraising for various good causes with 24 other climbers.

The paraplegic was in an off-road wheelchair trying to raise £3,000 for Help the Heroes, Calvert Trust Exmoor, Back-Up Trust and George’s Legacy.

But disaster struck about 985ft from the summit when they were caught in a hailstorm.

As the climbers scrambled to get their waterproofs on, Mr Gash moved the rucksack off a pouch holding his feet, to discover that his right leg had fallen out of it.

The 47-year-old’s paraplegia meant he had not felt his right leg being dragged under his chair and being struck against the rocks, which led to it being broken in several places.

Mr Gash’s wife Dawn, daughter Niamh and fellow climber David Walters, raising cash for Help for Heroes, saw the drama unfold on Saturday.

Mr Gash, a family support worker, said: “I had my rucksack sitting on my feet and when I moved it I noticed my leg was off the plate.

“It was like jelly – I knew it was broken. I don’t know how long it had been dragging along the ground.”

The team raised the alarm and the coastguard came and winched Shaun off the mountain. He is now recovering in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, where he could spend the next two weeks.

The father of three has a spiral fracture on his fibia, two tibia breaks and his leg is badly blistered and infected.

Mr Gash, from Lancaster, added: “I am just glad I can’t feel anything because the doctors said I would have felt a massive amount of pain.

“It wasn’t just a small break, I have done quite a job on my leg.”

Mr Gash, who has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and jumped out a plane for charity, added: “I think it’s made me realise I am not a bionic man.”

He said that he brought up the idea of amputation with medics because the healing process will take much longer if it is left. He added: “If having it amputated can get it fixed then that’s fine with me – I have accepted it.

“Plus the doctors say I could suffer from bad muscle and tissue damage at a later stage so I am fine with having it amputated now.”

Shaun has raised more than £250,000 for charity so far, with the Ben Nevis climb raising more than £2,500 so far.

To donate to his appeal go to

https://www.gofundme.com/rgk-no-fear-on-wheels-ben-nevis

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