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RAF veteran climbs 100 mountains on his stairs

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An RAF veteran who broke his back while serving has climbed the equivalent distance of the world's 100 tallest mountains - on his home staircase.

Ben Wilson, 45 from Gedling, Nottinghamshire, served for nearly three years before a spinal injury during training cut his career short.

He began his two-year challenge during lockdown and plans to finish it by climbing Snowdon on Sunday.

Charity SSAFA, which he has supported, said it applauded his achievements.

The Pilot Officer, who has been raising funds online for the armed forces charity, said he had started his challenge during lockdown, inspired by Capt Sir Tom Moore.

He first decided to climb the equivalent of the Three Peaks challenge on his stairs during the March 2020 lockdown.

After completing this mission, and finding that lockdown continued, he significantly extended his challenge to cover the tallest 100 mountains in the world, including K2, Mont Blanc and Mount Ararat.

On 30 October, he will complete his challenge by travelling to Wales and climbing Snowdon.

He received help and support from SSAFA Nottingham following his diagnoses of PTSD and COPD as a veteran.

Although he can walk, he has issues with mobility which makes the challenge markedly difficult to achieve.

He said: "The least I can do is raise some money for SSAFA so they can help other people like me, in their time of need.

"I go up and down my stairs for a good few hours a day.

"Things start to ping when you climb that many stairs and my injury can flair up. I have a great physio who supports me."

He has also qualified to train for the Invictus Games in the Archery, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Basketball categories and hopes to be selected to represent Great Britain.

"It's a brilliant concept and I am really hoping to qualify for and compete at Dusseldorf 2023," he said.

He is appealing to his supporters to join him on his Snowdon climb.

"It has been a very solitary challenge over the last two years and it would be nice to end it with some supporters," he said.

"We will be taking the easy route up the mountain and, as you might imagine, I have to take it slowly, so all abilities are welcome."

Hannah Siddle, senior challenge events officer at SSAFA said: "We have thoroughly enjoyed following Ben's challenge over the last two years and we're looking forward to cheering him on from the sidelines this weekend as he completes his final climb.

"What Ben has achieved has shown mental, and well a physical, strength and we applaud him for his achievements."

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