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MICHAEL IS CARRIED AWAY BY HIS CROAGH CHALLENGE.

Byline: LYNNE KELLEHER

A MAN left paralysed by a car accident is to see the summit of Croagh Patrick for the first time in 34 years when 40 of his pals stretcher him up the mountain.

Michael Corbett, who has not walked since the accident left him a quadraplegic in 1975, will be shouldered up the three mile hike on a speciallymade steel stretcher today.

He last made the famous pilgrimage as a teen-ager but now at the age of 50 he will undertake the gruelling 10-hour journey in aid of the new Irish charity Haven, which is bringing homes to the poorest people in Haiti.

Michael said: "I had climbed Croagh Patrick every year since I was about 11 and it was always a bit of craic. The last time I did it was when I was 16 in the year I had my accident.

"Going back up Croagh Patrick was something I had been talking about with my friends over the years. This is a great way of doing it and raising money for June Kerrins and David Ellis who will use the cash to build homes in Haiti for the charity Haven."

The charity, which has the backing of ex-US President Bill Clinton and Haitian musician Wyclef Jean, is sending 250 volunteers this autumn as part of its goal to build 1,000 new homes and upgrade 2,000 more by the end of 2011.

Forty climbers have been undergoing months of training on the holy mountain in Mayo for the gruelling 2,500ft ascent which has been dubbed "Mick's Climb".

Michael, from Newport, Co Mayo, said: "You couldn't get up there in a wheelchair - the last bit is all steep shale cone."

So a friend made a steel stretcher, complete with a wheel for the boggy stretches, on the high impact three-mile climb.

Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact www.havenpartnership.com.

CAPTION(S):

Dry run... Volunteers for Haven train with their specially made stretcher on Croagh Patrick
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 16, 2009
Words:334
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