Manchester Arena attack survivor preparing for charity climb

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Martin HibbertImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Martin Hibbert was one of the closest casualties to the Manchester Arena bomb blast to survive

A father who was paralysed in the Manchester Arena attack is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to show how "you can achieve anything" with the right help.

Martin Hibbert was one of the closest casualties to the blast to survive, suffering 22 shrapnel wounds which left him paralysed from the waist down.

The football agent hopes to raise £1m for the Spinal Injuries Association.

"I want to turn an appalling act of terror into a force for greater good," he said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The football agent hopes to raise £1m for the Spinal Injuries Association

The 44-year-old from Bolton plans to take a Paralympic torch from the 2012 London Games to the top of Africa's highest mountain in September, using a custom-built handbike for the seven to 10-day challenge.

He said: "We thought we would try and do something within the Paralympic year just to highlight 'don't write disabled people off'.

"We can still do a lot and we are still strong and - with the right help and support - you can achieve anything."

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Martin Hibbert, pictured with his wife, has defied medical experts

Since his recovery, Mr Hibbert has worked with the Spinal Injuries Association as a trustee.

"I just don't like being told I can't do something or I can't achieve something," he said.

"When I was told I wasn't going to walk again, it was a case of, well, I'm alive, I've still got my brain and my arms and my hands so there's still a lot I can do."

He will be joined on the climb by Rob Grew, who ran into the arena immediately after the explosion to help, and Stuart Wildman, the head nurse at the Major Trauma Centre at Salford Royal who treated Mr Hibbert.

Nik Hartley OBE, chief executive of the Spinal Injuries Association, said: "Too often disabled people are seen as second-class citizens, but Martin's incredible climb is a powerful statement of why achieving one's goals should not be defined by disability."

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