A hotelier left stricken after a freak fall has scaled new heights on the world’s tallest mountain –with help from hospital medics.
Mike Foster, who owns the Holm-Lea on Lord Street, climbed to Mount Everest base camp more than 5,000m up in the Himalayas.
His feat is all the more remarkable because a 15ft fall six years ago left him fearing he may never walk again.
The 66-year-old said: “Following a fall from a ladder in 2013, I broke my arm, elbow, leg and hip and was confined to a wheelchair.
“Consultants said they couldn’t guarantee a full recovery or that I would even be able to keep my left leg.
“But thanks to a determined team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, I kept pressure off my hip for eight months then worked hard at my exercises to get my strength back.”
Since his teenage years, Mike had dreamt of climbing Everest and decided that realising that dream was his focus for getting better.
He said: “I looked into doing it and realised I had to be in good shape to complete the three week trip.
“After some hard work with my physios helping me to believe in myself to get me walking again, I decided to build my core and leg strength by intense training three times a week at my local gym.
“It took 16 days to get up the mountain, often walking nine to 12 hours a day.’
Reaching Base Camp was never guaranteed however, as climbers can have adverse effects to the altitude and can go no further. Mike was also the oldest person in his travelling group.
But with the help of a young Sherpa, Peba, Mike reached Base Camp on his birthday, March 18.
He said: “It was absolutely unbelievable. Here I was at the highest point in the world on my birthday, realising a dream that seemed impossible. I can never top that.”
Mike added: “If it hadn’t been for the support, both mentally and physically, I gained from the NHS, I may never have walked again, never mind climbed Everest. I can never thank them enough.”
Physiotherapy Team Leader, Andrew McCarthy, said: “His recovery is amazing.”