Tony Walsh poem celebrates bomb survivor’s Kilimanjaro climb

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Longstanding friend of Write Out Loud, Tony Walsh, has followed up his powerful, internationally-renowned poem for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing with another, this time for one of those closest to the 2017 blast to survive, Martin Hibbert of Chorley.

Despite being left paralysed from the waist down, Martin recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, taking five days to do so in his specially-adapted wheelchair, with a hardy group of helpers, including some of those professionals who, as Martin describes it, helped save his life. Martin’s daughter Eve also suffered life-changing injuries in the blast.

Tony’s poem celebrates Martin’s courage and tenacity in his superhuman climbing achievement (only 65% of able-bodied climbers make it to the top):

"There comes Martin in his wheelchair/with just one thing on his mind/and dream, believe, achieve he says/and onward, forward, climbs."

 And his efforts to raise money for the Spinal Injures Association:

"…and with northern bloody-mindedness/and, crazy as this sounds/we’ll raise hope, we’ll raise awareness/we’ll raise a million pounds …"

And, as he did in the vigil poem Tony brings us back to perhaps his favourite four-letter word, before going on to channel, it seems, both Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman:

"From a single act of violence,

comes a simple act of love

We rise, we rise, we rise

We rise,

We rise above."

His successful scramble up Africa’s highest peak now has Martin halfway towards his £1m target for the Spinal Injuries Association. To help him go further, you can donate here.

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