Man left paralysed by Manchester Arena bomb conquers Mount Kilimanjaro

Martin Hibbert, 45, reaches 5,895-metre summit in wheelchair as he aims to raise £1m for Spinal Injuries Association

A man left paralysed by the Manchester Arena bomb has conquered the summit of Africa’s highest mountain in his wheelchair.

Martin Hibbert, 45, broke into singing and dancing as he reached the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro with his support team of helpers and local guides.

Hibbert and his daughter Eve, then aged 14, were 5 metres away from suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated his device five years ago last month.

Hibbert’s spinal cord was severed by shrapnel in the bombing, which left 22 dead and hundreds injured.

Hibbert launched the mission to scale Mount Kilimanjaro as he wanted to “move mountains” for disabled people. He has already raised around half of the £1m target of donations for the Spinal Injuries Association.

Speaking after reaching the 5,895-metre-high summit, he said: “I could just see the sign at the top. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry ... It was such a relief to get there and know that we had done it. Something I will always remember. Just so proud.

“I said we will all come back as different people and I certainly will do, just the love and that. I’m definitely a different person going home and I think everyone else will be as well.”

At the summit Hibbert spread some of his mother’s ashes while playing her favourite song, For All We Know by the Carpenters. She died in November last year, and Martin said: “I said she was going to be with me. Love you, mum.”

In January, the former football agent told the Guardian he wanted to inspire a “revolution” in how Britain thinks about people with disabilities.

He said he had been shocked by the everyday hurdles that people in wheelchairs must overcomes in public spaces such as restaurants, hotels and shops.

Speaking after the Kilimanjaro ascent, he added: “You know it doesn’t stop here. We’ve climbed a mountain but we now need to move mountains to get what we need in terms of social care change, changes in accessibility, things like that, so I’m going to need all these people to continue giving me that love and support.

“That’s why I’m doing this to show, don’t write off somebody because they’re in a wheelchair, look at what they can do when they’ve got the right help and support. They can climb Mount Kilimanjaro.”

Contributor

Josh Halliday and agencies

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