An amputee has trekked up Britain’s biggest mountain in “unbearable pain” and wet weather conditions to raise money to help children who have also lost limbs.
Ben Lovell, 42, has tackled the toughest hiking trails despite having his leg amputated in 2017 after suffering a blood clot.
So far he has raised over £22,000 for Amp Camp, a wellbeing project for adult amputees he founded with his wife Laura, 33.
They are now raising money to help children in the same way and last week scaled the 1,345m (4,413 ft) high Ben Nevis with a group of 10 amputees.
Money raised from the trek, which took the group eight hours to climb and four to descend, will fund a holiday-of-a-lifetime for amputee children and their families.
The couple have already raised more than £13,000, paying for the first children’s trip and part of a second one.
Ben said: “Ben Nevis was hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
“But it’s about getting your head down – it’s not physical, it’s a mental battle so your body wants to stop but as long as your mind carries on you’ll be all right.”
Ben started Amp Camp after struggling with his amputation when basic tasks he had taken for granted all his life required huge effort and he suffered depression and PTSD.
He decided to help other amputees and started sharing videos on social media showing the ups and the downs of his daily life, which he says helped him process his own pain.
Ben, who is from Bradford, West Yorks., added: “This day and age on social media it’s all about the good stuff, and a lot of it is false. And I just wanted to show people that this life is hard.
“When your limb’s gone, you may as well accept it because it’s not coming back. I’ve sat there and cried wishing it could come back and nothing changed.
“Instead of focusing on the problem I started focusing on the solution.”
He has organised a Kids’ Amp Camp for February 2022 which will give youngsters the chance to swim with dolphins and attend a water park on a paid-for holiday to Tenerife.
Laura, a beauty therapist, will offer facials and nails to the women and girls.
To raise funds for Kids’ Amp Camp, Ben and a fellow amputee trekked up Helvellyn mountain in the Lake District.
The climb took eight hours, as Ben can only walk for ten minutes at a time due to a blocked femoral artery.
He then went on to scale Scafell, then Scafell pike, the highest point England, followed by Pen y Fan, Cribyn, and Corn Du in Wales.
Ben’s mother Julia died suddenly of COPD aged 64 on July 8, two days before he climbed Snowdon.
He added: “The one thing that my mum always said was that I was making her proud by doing everything I was doing with these camps, so I had to keep going.
“Instead of sitting and mourning my mum’s death I went to celebrate her life.”
Ben started Amp Camp in lockdown to tackle the lack of support being echoed by the fellow amputees he met online.
Experts including nutritionists and physical therapists work with the amputees to improve their lifestyle and increase their confidence.
Partners of amputees are also invited to talk about how they are being affected.
With the money raised, the kids’ camp in February is booked and paid for, and almost enough has been raised for a second camp in April 2022.
Due to a blocked artery, Ben faces time in a wheelchair but says he is determined to keep going as long as he can.
He added: “It’s given me a meaning – I was plodding along in life, not doing much with myself.
“I was selfish, I took a lot of things for granted. Now I get to see people’s lives change by just reaching out and helping them.”