TEAM of “human huskies” have helped a man who is paralysed from the neck down to conquer Britain’s highest peak.
Remarkable Barry West, known as Westy, aged 34, from Framfield wanted to inspire other wheelchair users that “anything is possible.”
At 7am on Monday, April 11 Barry and his 18-strong mighty team of “Westy Warriors” set out on their epic adventure up Ben Nevis, Scotland, with Barry strapped in a bright green, purpose-built, home-made wheelchair, complete with “super-sized” wheels.
With half of the dedicated team acting as “human huskies” dragging the chair using special straps, and the other half pushing the chair, they literally puffed and panted their way up the side of the 4,409ft beast of a mountain.
After a gruelling 8 hours, battling tough terrain and even 3ft-deep snow, as well as a puncture half way up the mountain, Barry and his army of exhausted friends finally made it to the top of Ben Nevis.
Barry said: “It was an epic journey. I am a bit sore, but still rocking and rolling! The grit, determination and the heart of the team spurred us all on. Sometimes there was just millimetres between us and the edge of the mountain. I really had to have trust in my team.”
Superman Barry, who travels the UK giving motivational talks to specialist surgeons, doctors and physios, as well to as people with disabilities, said: “The Back-Up Trust has helped me and others to realise that life goes on, no matter what it throws at us, we did this challenge to raise awareness about this worthwhile charity.”
At the age of 19, Barry was tragically paralysed following a car accident in which he broke his neck. At the time, he had recently launched his own landscaping business and was returning home after seeing a client, when he swerved to avoid a badger in the road.
Barry and his “Westy Warriors” made it back down to the base of Ben Nevis late on Monday evening, 12 hours, 55 minutes and 47 seconds after setting off on their mammoth expedition.
All made it back down safely, despite an axle coming lose on Barry’s chair on the way down.
The challenge was supported throughout by ex-Royal Marine and mountain rescue expert, Graeme Morrison, of GM Mountaineering.