They feared I would never walk again... Now I’m going on North Pole Trek

A MAN who badly damaged his back while playing football as a teenager, and was told he would not play sport seriously again, is gearing up for a 20-day trek to the North Pole pulling a sledge weighing up to 30 kilos.

Pete Urwin, aged 21, amazed medical experts when, after physiotherapy every day for two years, his fractured vertebrae healed so much he was able to play football again.

Aged 15, he was told he would have to undergo a complicated operation, but feared the consequences, saying: “They said it would never heal properly without the op. But there was a chance I would never walk again and that’s what scared me.”

He then set about the gruelling physiotherapy regime to repair his back – to such an extent that he’s now able to play football for Warwick University.

Pete, of Gordon Street, Leamington, said: “My consultant said it had healed so much more than he thought it would just with physio. They thought that even with the op I would have struggled to play sport seriously.”

Now in the fourth year of his physics course at Warwick, he needs to raise £30,000 for the trip to the top of the world, on which he also plans to raise cash for charity – probably Cancer Research in memory of his grandfather. The trip costs so much because of the specialist clothing and equipment and the expense of guides.

The trip is planned for April 2014 and Pete is hoping to get an equipment loan from specialist suppliers and sponsorship from banks and finance organisations.

He added: “I want to do it because it’s tough and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was in the polar region four years ago for a holiday.”

Weighing in at over 12 stones, he will be setting out on a strenuous programme of cardiovascular, leg and back exercises to get him through hauling a packed sledge while on skis for up to ten hours a day. And before he sets off he will have to undergo a medical examination before being passed fit for the adventure.

He will also have to contend with temperatures that can fall to a bone-chilling -50C, saying: “It’s not so much the cold, it’s the wind-chill factor. There’s nothing to break the wind because it’s just so flat and covered in snow.”

Originally from Watford, he said: “Mum and dad are naturally a little worried but they are glad I am doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Pete - who hopes to work in engineering, aerospace or the energy field after his trip and also plans animal conservation work in the Far East after similar work in Africa this year – will be accompanied by fellow Warwick students Jake Taylor and Lewis Martin.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

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