Cumbria

Skiddaw mountain climb for injured Cumbrian soldier

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLance Corporal Mark Harding said he wanted to inspire others

A soldier who learnt to walk again after a sniper's bullet left him with severe injuries to his spinal cord, has climbed 3,054 ft (930m) up a mountain.

Lance Corporal Mark Harding from Wigton, Cumbria, was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in 2010 when he was shot in the neck.

The 36-year-old received severe injuries to his spinal cord which left him paralysed for several months.

Now, after learning to walk again, he has climbed to the top of Skiddaw mountain in the Lake District.

He was joined by a support team and friends and family on the climb.

'Covered in blood'

Remembering the moment he came under fire while on a routine patrol, L/Cpl Harding said he heard a "big bang" and was "thrown against the wall".

"I could see that my mate had been shot through his thigh but when I tried to move I couldn't.

"It was only when I looked down and saw that the left hand side of my body armour was covered in blood," he said.

After blacking out, he remembers waking up in the patrol base before being evacuated back to Camp Bastion.

Image caption Lance Corporal Mark Harding was hit in the neck by a sniper in Afghanistan

He said: "The doctors kept asking me where it hurt; I told them 'everywhere, just stop the pain'. Then I woke up and it was five days later in Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham."

He later discovered that the bullet had passed through his neck, fracturing his vertebrae, taking a bit of his spinal cord and exiting out of his front left shoulder.

With the help of staff at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Unit at Headley Court, he has now learnt to walk again, but is reliant on crutches.

He has been left with constant severe nerve damage and pain and has no feeling in his right leg.

He said: "I want to continue to push myself and strive constantly to make a difference.

"If I can inspire others to do something and think if he can do it, I can do it, then it's something worthwhile.

"These injuries were borne out of fighting the enemy but now these injuries are our war, the battle is within."

L/Cpl Harding took part in the challenge to raise money for ABF The Soldiers' Charity.

The charity supported him with his rehabilitation, providing him with grants for a specialist wheelchair and to adapt his home.

He said: "After all the help that The Soldiers' Charity has given me and others, I feel I need to repay them and help them raise money for other soldiers and their families in times of need."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites