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Brighton wheelchair athlete climbs mountain he fell from
A Brighton snowboarder who was told he would never walk again successfully climbed 200ft up the very cliff he fell from.
Paul Stewart, 32, fell 227ft at 100mph over a cliff in the Swiss Alps after he was caught up in a freak avalanche in December in 2008.
The former Eastbourne College pupil – who played hockey and rugby for Sussex – broke his back in the fall and was told he would never walk again.
Today, Mr Stewart is still paralysed below the knees but after five years of gruelling rehabilitation he can walk with the aid of walking sticks despite having no feeling or sensation as he takes each step.
Despite this Mr Stewart, who plays wheelchair tennis for Great Britain, has just completed a challenge which saw him swim two-and-a half miles, cycle 112 miles, walk 26 miles and then climb the face of the very cliff he fell from.
Mr Stewart, who grew up on Dyke Road in Brighton, said: “I still cannot believe it.
“I wanted to do something for charity and going back to the scene of my accident seemed very appropriate.
“The climb was probably the hardest part because I had to relive the memories of my accident. Climbing it was like rehab – I had to take one step at a time, bit by bit.
“However as soon as I reached the top I released how lucky I was to be alive. People that saw the mountain could not believe I had fallen down it and survived.
“I knew that I wanted to turn this sad story into a happy one and I knew I had control of my situation this time, unlike after my accident.
“I am incredibly proud that the challenge was completed and am blown away by the amount of support I received.”
Mr Stewart has raised just over £360,000 for Spinal Research and Wings For Life. He begins training for wheelchair tennis on Monday, and hopes to complete similar challenges in the future.
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