Disabled dad loses leg after accident while scaling Ben Nevis

Shaun Gash's climbing feat in June came to a horrific end - just 300 metres from the top of Ben Nevis. Picture: SWNS
Shaun Gash's climbing feat in June came to a horrific end - just 300 metres from the top of Ben Nevis. Picture: SWNS
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A disabled dad whose leg became mangled under his wheelchair while attempting to scale the UK’s highest mountain has had it amputated.

Shaun Gash’s climbing feat in June came to a horrific end - just 300 metres from the top of Ben Nevis - after he badly broke his right leg.

The 47-year-old paraplegic was completely unaware his leg had become trapped beneath his off-road wheelchair and had been smashing against the huge rocks.

Shaun’s wife Dawn, 46, and daughter Niamh, 13, who had joined him on the climb, watched the horror unfold as he was airlifted off the peak.

The dad-of-three spent three weeks in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness after suffering a spiral fracture on his fibia, two tibia breaks and his leg is badly blistered and infected.

He was then transferred to The Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where he spent four days.

Shaun was a back seat passenger in a car that took a corner too fast and flipped over, snapping his spine in half after he was thrown out of the back window - 27 years ago.

He was given two days to live after breaking his back, ribs, shoulder and puncturing both his lungs.

Now, four months later, Shaun has had his crushed leg amputated below the knee - after begging medics to let him have the surgery.

Speaking from his hospital bed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, the family support worker said it wasn’t a hard decision to have his leg removed.

Shaun said: “I had the leg amputated at half past two yesterday (Thur) and all going well, I am hoping to be discharged today - it’s onwards and upwards.

“When I went to see the surgeon in Blackpool earlier this year, it was nine weeks after the accident and the leg was exactly the same as it was when it happened.

“It was still badly broken and the surgeon agreed with the amputation to help the recovery.

“Even after the decision was made there was no doubt in my mind I had done the right thing - it had just been going on for so long.

“The hardest part was putting a case together to justify to the doctors why I wanted the amputation and why it was the best way forward.”

The philanthropist, from Lancaster, was trying to raise £3,000 for Help For Heroes, Calvert Trust Exmoor, Back-Up Trust and George’s Legacy by scaling Ben Nevis.

At the time docs told Shaun he was lucky he couldn’t feel his leg because he would have been in excruciating pain.

Shaun, dad to twins Sharna and Kyle, 18 and daughter Niamh, made the decision to have his leg amputated to speed up his recovery process.

He said: “I actually brought the idea up to my doctor. It’s not just something I said on a whim, I have to think rationally about my recovery time.

“I know my body and because I can’t feel my legs the healing process is going to take so much longer.”

Shaun, who has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and jumped out a plane for charity, added: “I broke my back and was given two days to live more than 20 years ago.

“And in comparison to that, this is just a flesh wound.

“It’s happened and I just want to get on with it now.

“The stitches should be in for two or three weeks and then hopefully I will be given the all clear to go on holiday with my family.”

Following the amputation, Shaun thanked medical staff and his supporters and vowed to continue with his fundraising work.

Shaun has raised more than £250,000 for charity so far, with the Ben Nevis climb raising more than £2,500 so far.

To donate to his appeal go to https://www.gofundme.com/rgk-no-fear-on-wheels-ben-nevis