Reading Brigade Start Mountain Challenge

15 February 2012, 06:00

Soldiers from the Thames Valley are going to help soldiers injured in Afghanistan climb Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa in the next 10 days.

The Reading-based 7 Rifles are hoping to set a Guinness World record for getting the most severely injured climbers to the top of the mountain in Tanzania.

The trek is raising money for two military charities, The Pilgrim Bandits and the brigade's own cause - Care for Casualties...with £18,000 target already raised.

It will also provide a morale boosting adventure for those who have had their lives changed through injury.

John Lee and Ricky Hatton (pictured) are two amputees taking part.

John lost a leg in a bomb blast in 2007 - he has told Heart he's looking forward to it.

"In a normal day-to-day basis I struggle to walk long distances and keeping on my leg, so climbing Mount Kilimanjaro's going to be a massive give. It's going to be difficult, one of the most difficult thing I've done in my life.

"As a soldier you're used to pushing yourself and doing things you didn't think you could do, so it's going to be a massive achievement.

"I'm getting married next year so this is going to be the last opportunity I get really to do something like this."

Corporal Sean Ferguson from Banbury is one of the able-bodied team members going and their medic.

He says it will be a new challenge to keep them healthy during the 10 day expedition and explains why something like this is so important.

"It's the injuries you don't hear about - everybody hears about the guys that have been killed but the injuries are massive.

"So it's trying to make sure these guys are as well looked after as possible so they don't have to miss anything out."

The Rifles is the largest infantry regiment in the British Army with five regular battalions and two territorial ones.

It means they continually have troops deployed on operations and have suffered the greatest number of casualties.



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