Wounded Maidstone veteran to climb Mount Everest to raise money for Royal British Legion Industries
PUBLISHED: 10:48 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 03 October 2017
Former Gurkha Anil Gurung lost his right leg below the knee in Afghanistan in 2009
A disabled war veteran will attempt to climb the world’s highest mountain next month to raise money for the Kent-based military and disability charity where he works.
Former Gurkha Anil Gurung was posted with the British Army in Afghanistan in 2009 where, just 20 days before the end of his tour, he stepped on an explosive device, resulting in the loss of his right leg below the knee.
The 29-year-old, originally from Nepal and now living in Maidstone, works in Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI)’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, based in Aylesford – which employs more than 120 people many of whom are veterans and 60 per cent of whom are disabled.
Now Mr Gurung, who has won gold and silver for Great Britain in Sitting Volleyball at the Invictus Games, is set to return to his native country to take on the might of Mount Everest in a 10-day, 18,000-feet trek.
He said: “It will be a challenge for me physically and mentally. I am trying to build my muscles back up after taking time out after the Invictus Games and have been trekking across Kent and more recently in Snowdonia in Wales. But I need make sure I also am in the right state of mind.
“RBLI have been incredibly supportive of me since I first joined Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company and that hasn’t stopped with me taking on this challenge - they have been helping me every step of the way.
“I owe a lot to RBLI, not only for helping me to stabilise my life after leaving the service, but also for encouraging me to take on these challenges and help me to prove to myself I can do them, so it’s very rewarding to know I’m giving something back.”
Mr Gurung kick-started his fundraising campaign last month with a traditional Nepalese curry night where up to 150 guests, many of whom come from Maidstone’s Nepalese community where he now lives, were entertained by traditional musicians, raising more than £2,000 towards his £15,000 target.
RBLI’s chief executive Steve Sherry, who served in the army for 38 years, added: “Anil’s dedication to go above and beyond for RBLI is a testament to his great character.
“The money he raises will go directly to helping veterans and individuals with health conditions and disabilities receive the support they need to find sustained employment and get their lives back on track.
“We are immensely proud of Anil and wish him the very best of luck in his challenge.”