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Charles Church

War hero Terry takes step closer to grand slam

22 February 2017

A war hero from Essex has taken a step closer to becoming one of the first disabled men to complete the notorious Explorers Grand Slam by conquering Aconcagua.

Amputee Terry Byrne, a former paratrooper, is back in his hometown of Colchester after completing a gruelling 6,960.8 metre climb to the summit of the Argentinean mountain.

Terry, a 32-year-old assistant site manager with Charles Church Essex, is part of a three-man team hoping to become the first disabled group to successfully complete the Explorers Grand Slam.

To enter the record books, the trio must scale the highest peaks in seven continents.  Terry and the team previously tried to scale Aconcagua in 2015 but the harsh weather meant they were not successful.  The group went back for a second attempt at the end of January – and this time they were triumphant.

Terry said: “This time we went in January rather than December so the weather was a bit better. It was -15 this time instead of -43°C. I was looking forward to it but, having failed last time, I was also quite apprehensive.The altitude made it very difficult indeed. The last 1,000 metres were practically vertical and with the lack of energy, I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

That could’ve been the end of my Grand Slam dreams but we pushed each other on and it was a huge relief to make it. Terry and the team have now completed three of the seven mountains having previously scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus, the highest peaks in Africa and Europe. Next on Terry’s radar is a trip to Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea in October this year. At 4,884 metres, it is not the highest mountain the team will face – but it is one of the steepest.

Terry, who had to have part of his leg amputated after he stood on an improvised explosive device while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan in 2008, said: “It is virtually a vertical rock climb.  It’s going to particularly hard for my teammate Martin Hewitt as he only has use of one arm.  For me it will mean a slightly different style of training. I will be using the climbing walls in Romford and working on building leg strength.  For now, I’m just glad to be back home and back in work.”

Terry is currently working on Charles Church’s Oakwood Meadows development in Stanway, where is overseeing the construction of 278 properties.

Philip Standen, manging director at Persimmon Homes Essex, said: “We’re delighted and proud that Terry has completed the third mountain in his Grand Slam challenge.  He is a very inspirational guy and we’re pleased to be able to support him in this journey by giving the time off that he requires.”

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