Paralysed Rogiet man completes Snowdon climb - with 11 helpers

GOING UP: Andrew Watson and his team climb Snowdon

CHALLENGE: Climbing the mountain

BIG PUSH: Andrew Watson with his helpers at the summit

First published in News

A PARALYSED Gwent man who last week scaled Snowdon for charity has said the achievement proves life in a wheelchair is not the end.

Tetraplegic Andrew Watson, from Rogiet, was pushed and pulled up the 3,500-foot mountain on Saturday, July 5, by a team of 11 volunteers for spinal charity Back Up.

The 47-year-old, who fell and broke his neck in 2010, originally planned to climb the peak last summer with his wife, Ilona, but had to cancel after a bout of pneumonia.

But this year Mr Watson returned ready to face the mammoth trek which the team completed in an astounding 8hr 30min.

The climb saw £4,768 raised for Back Up, a small national charity which works with people affected by spinal cord injury.

Mr Watson, who is father to daughter Lillie, said: “My experience of the Snowdon push has given me independence and confidence that life in a wheelchair is not the end.

“I now know there are always opportunities to develop my independence even more with support from the Back Up trust team.”

The ‘Watson Express’ team, who made the climb possible, included Mr Watson’s brother-in-law, four people from Rogiet and his physiotherapist.

Members of the team prepared for mountainous conditions ahead of the Snowdon climb by scaling Cwmbran’s Mynydd Maen.

The climb to the summit, which covered eight miles, began early on Saturday morning after a night camping in torrential rain.

Ilona Watson, main organiser of the climb, said: “The challenge has been two years in the making -we’ve had many hurdles to get over. But finally we were successful.”

“Camping for two nights was a fantastic experience, followed by an extreme climb we will never forget. We are extremely thankful to the team and supporters who all worked so hard to get Andy to the very top.”

Mrs Watson said the team will now focus their energy on the next Snowdon Push in 2015.

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