It took a while to adjust to my new circumstances but then I turned to adaptive sport to have a focus. I was still undergoing a lot of operations but could balance sport with rehabilitation.
Martin Hewitt, 36, has achieved more in the last 12 years than more people can hope to in a life time. He represented Great Britain in the Paralympic World Championships, competing in Downhill Ski Racing. He made the record books several times as Captain of the newly formed Combined Services Disabled Ski Team, representing the military and Great Britain ski racing at the highest international levels.
In April 2011, he walked to the Geographic North Pole joined by HRH Prince Harry as part of the Walking with the Wounded North Pole team. This was covered in BBC1’s Harry's Arctic Heroes.
Martin then re-entered the record books in 2012 as the first disabled person ever to reach the summit of Mount Manaslu (8,162m), as well as climbing Mount McKinley (6,194m) and leading a team on Mount Everest (8,848m). This was also with HRH Prince Harry and televised as Harry's Mountain Heroes.
Fundraising for Help for Heroes, he also completed the Marathon des Sables in 2014 – a self-supported foot race covering 250km across the Moroccan Sahara in seven days.
Captain Martin Hewitt served for eight years as a commissioned officer with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations and exercises in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. He was injured in 2007 in Afghanistan while leading his men in combat. Receiving gunshot wounds to the chest and foot, these paralysed his right arm and ended his military career.
He first heard about Help for Heroes when Bryn and Emma came into Selly Oak Hospital while he was a patient there, and when Bryn asked him a few months later to join the first Big Battlefield Bike Ride he agreed. “It was less than a year after I’d been injured but I wanted a challenge. I didn’t know everyone, but we all bonded quickly – any group thrown into the same physical challenge tends to form relationships quickly.”
At this point, Martin was still hoping to continue his military career but his arm wasn’t regaining function. “It took a while to adjust to my new circumstances but then I turned to adaptive sport to have a focus. I was involved in the founding of Battle Back, which Help for Heroes helped to fund, and I was invited on the first adaptive ski trip. I was then asked to captain the newly formed Combined Services Disabled Ski Team; I was still undergoing a lot of operations but could balance sport with rehabilitation and took part. Six months later a talent spotter from Team GB invited me to try out, and this led to me representing my country again – this time on the ski slopes.”
Martin is passionate about using sport or expeditions to help people with injuries and disabilities, and founded ‘The Adaptive Grandslam’. This is an on ongoing challenge that supports disabled Veterans in attempting to scale the highest mountain in every continent, as well as reaching the North and South Poles.
Martin set up Fieri Leadership and Development in 2013 – a company that develops leaders through consultation, practical scenario training and testing exercises. He uses his own experience to inspire others to push beyond perceived boundaries and achieve the extraordinary.