Leeds & West Yorkshire

Terminally ill Leeds man determined to act over climate

Nick Hodgkinson Image copyright Nick Hodgkinson
Image caption Nick Hodgkinson, who is in a wheelchair and needs a breathing ventilator, travelled from Leeds to London to join the protests

A man with motor neurone disease who was arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest said he was determined to take a stand despite being terminally ill.

Nick Hodgkinson said he could "live with dying" but "not with himself" if he failed to act over climate change.

The 57-year-old from Leeds was arrested for obstructing the highway with his wheelchair in Millbank, central London, during a protest on Monday.

He was later de-arrested when his breathing ventilator needed charging.

Because of the disease, Mr Hodgkinson, from Leeds, cannot speak and has multiple health problems and complex care needs.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Extinction Rebellion activists are calling on urgent action on global climate and wildlife emergencies

He said when he was arrested he handed police a letter from his doctor explaining his illness and communicated with officers via an app on his mobile phone.

"I explained that I would not move my wheelchair and they agreed they could not lift me out of it because of the risks to my health," he said.

"The police were polite and considerate about my health.

"Obviously they'd have preferred me not to obstruct the highway, but we had a good conversation about the climate crisis."

Mr Hodgkinson said after about four hours in the road he told police he had to leave because his breathing ventilator was almost out of power.

"I told my arresting officer I was off and he openly smiled. 'Hang on' he said, 'I've got to formally de-arrest you first'. "

Mr Hodgkinson, who took part in the Extinction Rebellion in Leeds in July, said: "I never felt scared or intimidated throughout the whole time.

"But I am scared that our government is not taking urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.

"I don't know how long I've got left but I do know I won't live long enough to suffer the worst effects of climate breakdown.

"But I couldn't live with myself if I didn't try to stop climate breakdown ruining the lives of our future generations."

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