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Everest trek hit by bug; Injured soldiers battle against food poisoning.

Byline: THOMAS MARTIN

AN INJURED soldier from Widnes battled suspected food poisoning to lead a trek to Mount Everest.

Expedition leader Captain Martin Hewitt is one of the five-strong Walking with the Wounded charity team taking on the daunting 8,848m climb.

The former Fairfield High School pupil, who grew up on Widnes's Grosvenor Park Estate, was left with a paralysed right arm in 2007, after being shot in Afghanistan.

The 31-year-old, along with Captain Francis Atkinson, also 31, and Captain David Wiseman, 29, were all suffering from suspected food poisoning after leaving Kathmandu, and the energy-sapping illness threatened to slow their progress.

Yesterday, however, they made light work of the 7km trek, much of which was an uphill climb. The team set off from Monjo - 2,835m above sea level - at 8am yesterday (3.15am GMT), and entered the Sagarmartha National Park shortly afterwards.

The total difference in altitude from the bottom to the top was around 700m, according to expedition guides.

The other two members of the team are Private Jaco van Gass, 25, and Karl Hinett, a former private in the Staffordshire Regiment, who said: "I'm feeling pretty strong. By no means have I been pushing myself, I've been trying to take it as easy as I can because I'm sure there are going to be some times on the trip when we just can't take it easy."

The challenge follows the success of the charity's 2011 expedition, in which Captain Hewitt and three other disabled soldiers became the first team of unsupported war-wounded amputees to reach the geographic North Pole.

The Walking With The Wounded charity raises funds to assist with the re-training and re-education of servicemen and women, both veterans and those leaving the Armed Forces.

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DRIVEN: Captain Martin Hewitt at the start of his trek to Everest, above; and the dramatic Himalayan scenery, right
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2012
Words:312
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