Local hero scales volcanic heights for the legion

This is The West Country: Local hero scales volcanic heights for the legion Local hero scales volcanic heights for the legion

A CROSS-party team of MPs, serving soldiers and mountaineering experts are preparing to embark upon an ambitious fundraising challenge in aid of The Royal British Legion.

The ‘Battle Back & Mountaineering APPG Cotopaxi Expedition 2014’, taking place from 25th May – 10th June, will see 23 year old local veteran Lyndon Chatting–Walters from Axminster, Devon, joined by three MPs from the UK Parliamentary Mountaineering Group and serving soldiers who have recently been helped by the Legion.

Sponsored by Coventry Building Society, the 12-strong group will tackle the equatorial summits of Iliniza Norte, Cayambe and Cotopaxi – one of the world’s highest active volcanoes standing at 19,347 feet – in a bid to raise awareness of the Legion and its services.

The team is aiming to raise £10,000 for The Legion’s Battle Back Centre based in Lilleshall, Shropshire, an adaptive sport and adventurous training facility for wounded, injured and sick Armed Forces personnel.

Participants undertake sports such as climbing, caving, wheelchair basketball, clay shooting and archery to help overcome physical and psychological challenges, promote self-confidence and improve motivation to aid recovery.

Local veteran Lyndon was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008 and his injuries included four broken vertebrae.

Despite having been told he might never walk again, he worked hard on his rehabilitation and returned to the front line in August 2010.

But his injuries proved to be too severe for Service and in early 2012 he completed a rehabilitation course at The Battle Back Centre.

Lyndon said: "I can't pick one highlight from my Battle Back experience because there were so many. From the varied activities and help both physically and mentally, the encouragement and support, and the interaction. The support I received has given me the massive confidence boost I needed."

Dave Bunting, Head Coach at The Battle Back Centre and the expedition Leader with Carnegie Great Outdoors, who also led the ground-breaking British Army Everest West Ridge Expedition in 2006, said: “Our courses at The Battle Back Centre are all about helping to boost self-confidence and improve motivation through adaptive sports for wounded, injured and sick soldiers, many who have been through traumatic or life-changing experiences.

“The Ecuador Expedition will see a group of serving soldiers and veterans who have spent time at the Centre take part in this unique, once in a lifetime experience which we will hope will further enhance their recovery and future development.

“It is a physically and psychologically demanding challenge that will push the whole team to its limits – people that want to show their support for the team can do so by donating via our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/teams/TRBLEcuador2014.”

The expedition will provide a tough challenge, bringing the mixed team together to cope with extreme altitude, temperatures of -10C, days of acclimatisation and a gruelling final push for the summit of Cotopaxi starting at 1am.

The unique challenge provides the opportunity for the MPs to work alongside members of the Armed Forces community who have benefited from spending time at The Battle Back Centre.

The ‘Battle Back & Mountaineering APPG Cotopaxi Expedition 2014’ has been made possible with help from the UK Parliamentary Mountaineering Group (MPs Greg Mulholland, John Mann and Tracey Crouch), MOD, Carnegie Great Outdoors, Coventry Building Society, Polypipe, Youth Hotel Association, Berghaus and Jagged Globe.

To find out further information or to sponsor the team please visit their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/teams/TRBLEcuador2014

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