Serious Injury
Personal Injury

Supporting Manchester Arena bombing survivor Martin Hibbert to raise £1m for the Spinal Injuries Association


Rachel Di Clemente

Chief Executive Officer

6 min read time
15 May 2021

We are delighted to be announcing our support for Manchester Arena bombing survivor Martin Hibbert in his inspirational challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Martin, 44, was one of the closest people to the terrorist blast at the Ariana Grande concert in May 2017 to survive and is hoping to raise £1m to provide better support to people who suffer spinal injuries in the UK.

Martin suffered 22 shrapnel wounds and a severed spinal cord which left him paralysed from the waist down as he protected his daughter, who was also seriously injured, from the blast.

However, despite his life-changing injuries, Martin, from Bolton, Lancashire, aims to carry a Paralympic torch from the 2012 London Games to the top of Africa’s highest mountain in September, as part of the ‘Martin’s Mountain’ challenge.

It will see him use a custom-built Bowhead hand bike for a gruelling challenge which is expected to take between seven and 11 days to complete, passing through rainforests, boulder fields, sand dunes and snowy peaks.

Martin says he hopes to ‘encourage everyone in my position to have hope for a better tomorrow’ and he is particularly keen to send a message of optimism and inclusivity for life after injury.

Having learned that only one in three people with a spinal cord injury in the UK receive treatment in a specialist spinal injury centre, he wants to ensure others receive the same level of support and treatment he has benefitted from over the past four years.

“The Manchester Arena bombing was one of the worst moments of my life, but not the hardest, as I’ve since faced life-threatening illness and physical and mental health challenges as a result of what happened that day,” Martin said.

“I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t benefitted from specialist spinal treatment and support after my injury, and it was only having found myself in this situation that I became aware that just one in three people get specialist spinal treatment after injury in the UK.

“I have had to climb many mountains with regards my own mental and physical recovery over the past four years and now I want my climb of Mount Kilimanjaro to start a revolution and forever change the way society thinks about disabled people, placing the focus on what people can do if they are given the support they require to achieve. The focus should never be on what people can no longer do.

“It will be an incredible challenge as I’ll be crossing rainforests, boulder fields and snow and tackling the altitude, freezing temperatures and life under canvas, but I am doing this so that I can start a conversation around what disabled people can achieve with the right support.

“Hopefully we can begin to change these statistics as to how many people are offered the help they need and deserve. That is why we have set a target of £1m as that will mean we can help more people after injury.”

Hudgell Solicitors sets target of raising £100,000 towards £1m total

Martin is one of 89 survivors seriously injured in the attack to have instructed our legal team at Hudgell Solicitors to act in their interests as investigations continue into how the attack was able to happen.

Money raised from the challenge will go to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), a charity which Martin says has helped him to live a fulfilled life again as a husband and father, having completed his rehabilitation programme, returned home and resumed his career as a sports agent.

Rachel Di Clemente, chief executive of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “As an inspiration to his fellow attack survivors, and many of our other clients who are facing the same long path to recovery after suffering life-changing injury, all at Hudgell Solicitors are delighted to offer our complete support to Martin’s fundraising efforts, and his goal of making specialist spinal treatment more accessible to all.

“Martin is aiming to do something truly special, and as a firm we have been inspired by him to set our own ambitions high with a target of raising £100,000 ourselves towards the cause.

“As part of our support, a five-strong team from out civil liberties department will join Martin in June as he completes a training exercise by climbing Mount Snowden in Wales, whilst plans are in place for a series of fundraising and corporate events which will hopefully help swell the funds.

“What Martin is doing through this challenge is absolutely incredible and immensely inspiring. Importantly, he hopes to have a positive impact for many other people in the future by ensuring they benefit from access to specialist treatment and support.

“As a business many of our team have seen first-hand the impact the Manchester Arena attack has had on lives, both with regards the families we represent who lost loved ones on that awful day, and for survivors such as Martin.

“Our work in supporting people who suffer life-changing injuries is all about providing them with all the treatment and support they need to be able to live the most rewarding and fulfilled future lives.

“There can be nothing more frustrating for us in our role when those support networks are not sufficient enough to allow us to help in the way we should be able to, and the way we want to.

“Martin is determined to make a difference by firstly inspiring others who suffer serious injury to feel that they have a positive future, secondly making people talk more openly about injury and its impact on mental health, and ultimately to make a change which ensures better support services are in place for those who need it.

“It is something everybody across our business will contribute to through direct donations, major fund-raising efforts, and by our people leaning on those we know to help us meet our target. It is a fantastic cause.”

Support for Spinal Injuries Association

Martin added: “Over the last four years the Spinal Injuries Association has done much for me, so now I’m doing something for them.

“This is something I want to do. I want to turn an appalling act of terror in to the opposite, a powerful statement of hope and optimism that can change forever the lives of the 2,500 people paralysed by spinal cord injury in the UK each year.”

Joining Martin on the expedition, which starts on September 1, will be Major Trauma Consultant Nurse Stuart Wildman from Salford Royal, who looked after him in the months after the incident, Rob Grew, who ran into the Manchester Arena immediately after the explosion to offer help to the severely injured casualties, and Graeme Hackland, Chief Information Officer at Williams Racing, which is supporting his campaign.

Martin, who is an SIA trustee and has been training at the Porsche Human Performance sports science laboratory, will be using a specially-adapted Bowhead hand bike and the event has been timed to coincide with the Paralympics being held in Tokyo.

To find out more about Martin’s challenge visit the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

Pledge a donation here.

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Supporting Manchester Arena bombing survivor Martin Hibbert to raise £1m for the Spinal Injuries Association

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