A former soldier who became the first amputee to successfully cross the Greenland ice sheet unsupported is taking on another monumental fitness challenge – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with fellow injured servicemen.
Chester resident Peter Bowker, a former lance corporal in the Dragoon Guards, was hit by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in 2008.
He sustained devastating, life-changing injuries which left him needing complex surgery and rehabilitation.
After several operations and attempts to save his right leg, a medical decision was made to amputate in 2011.
Peter and a team of five others crossed the finish line in Greenland in June last year after negotiating icy crevasses, dodging polar bears and skiing in -37°C blizzards, all while pulling loads weighing more than 130kg.
Challenge to promote awareness of PTSD
After setting a new world record last year for the gruelling expedition, which covered nearly 600km of ice from Kangerlussuaq in the west to Kulusuk in the east, Peter, who grew up in Connah’s Quay, will take on the epic challenge of climbing the 16,001ft Mount Kilimanjaro next month along with five injured Royal Marines and five female police officers from South Wales Police.
Project manager Richard Morgan, a former Royal Marines Commando who now works for the police, was instrumental in bringing the three teams together, partly to celebrate last year’s 100th anniversary of the first British female police officer being given the power of arrest.
It is hoped the expedition will encourage the police force to look out for early signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and get symptoms treated early, while also promoting disability awareness, raising money for the Royal Marine Charity and recognising the impact PTSD can have on the lives of sufferers.
Five members of the original Greenland 65 Degrees North team will be having their first team get-together on Sunday with the Royal Marines and police officers during a morning trek in Port Talbot.
Peter, 28, who has been studying site carpentry and counselling at West Cheshire College in Ellesmere Port , said: “Sport and adventurous challenge has played a key role in my recovery and allowed me the opportunity to encourage and inspire others to overcome adversity.
“We have had immense support and have been humbled by the generosity of all who have given their time, advice and expertise.
“Changing the perception of physical and mental disability through the spirit of adventure, 65 Degrees North hopes to inspire and motivate others to overcome, achieve and succeed.”
The team will be at the Liberty Stadium on Monday (January 18), when Swansea City play Watford, and when The Royal Marines Commando Display Team will abseil into the stadium with the match ball.