Paralysed Manchester Arena survivor Martin Hibbert 'walks' for first time since attack

Martin Hibbert spoke to presenter Gamal Fahnbulleh about 'walking' for the first time in four years, his upcoming challenge and afternoon tea with the Princess Royal.

A father left paralysed by the Manchester Arena attack has taken his first steps following the bombing.

Martin Hibbert, from Chorley, was one of the many people whose life was changed forever by the terrorist attack.

He was left paralysed from the waist down after 22 pieces of shrapnel from the bomb severed his spinal cord.

The football agent and his daughter Eve, then 14, were just five metres away when a suicide bomb was detonated by terrorist Salman Abedi after the Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

But with the power of technology he has been able to walk for the first time since the attack.

He was using an exoskeleton - a wearable machine that helps people with spinal cord injuries to move.

He told ITV Granada Reports: "To be stood up straight was mentally amazing. I wanted that video to inspire people.

"That, actually, technology is changing on a daily basis and there are hopefully big changes coming in research for spinal cord injuries."

Next year, Martin is taking on the challenge of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, to raise £1,000,000 for Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

Eve, who had undergone her own recovery had backed her dad's epic challenge. She says, 'you will do it Dad, you always do'.

Martin trains for his next challenge - climbing Mount kilimanjaro. Credit: ITV News

A trustee for the charity, Mr Hibbert will be setting off early next June with two nurses who helped him recover, along with his two best friends.

He is aiming to take the Paralympic torch to the summit, making it a 'moment of hope' for everyone living with a spinal cord injury.

He told ITV Granada Reports: "They've helped me live a fulfilled life over the last four years so I wanted to give something back - and there's nothing crazier than doing Mt Kilimanjaro!

"Hopefully, all the viewers in the North West, I want them to be behind me. I'm not going to be able to do it without their generous support."

Manchester Arena bomb survivor, Martin Hibbert having afternoon tea with Princess Anne.

And it's not just the region that will be supporting Martin as he takes on this next challenge.

He has been backed by the Princess Royal, a patron of SIA, who attended an afternoon tea with Martin in aid of the charity last week.

"To have her love and support was truly amazing". He said: "She did a little speech and said some truly remarkable words about me that almost moved me to tears".

The trip was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn't stop his determination to train even harder for the challenge now set to take place next year.

Martin is scheduled to set off for Tanzania on 2 June 2022. You can follow his journey and donate here.