Taking part in Climb2Recovery helped Leslie feel like part of a team again and opened a new chapter in his life

My name is Leslie Binns. I’m an injured ex-serviceman. I served in the Light Dragoons for a little over 13 years reaching the rank of Corporal. I was deployed on operations in Bosnia, Iraq & Afghanistan. In 2009 as part of an Operational Mentoring & Liaison team, I was hit in the face by shrapnel from a roadside bomb whilst on patrol in Afghanistan. Three fellow Afghan soldiers were killed in the incident and I was Evacuated back to the UK. After several operations the integrity of my eye was saved but not my sight, leaving me blind in one eye. Later on I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I found it hard to cope in civilian life and took to the hills and mountains to help remedy the PTSD. I’ve attempted Everest twice. The first in 2016, I gave up my summit attempt to rescue a dying climber and try to rescue another climber then in 2017 I was thwarted by bad weather and had to help another climber to safety.
I had heard out Climb2Recovery. I applied and the next thing I knew I was sat in a briefing room in Hathersage being introduced to a group of guys with varying degrees of injuries getting ready for our first day on the rock together.

The course was fantastic. A lot of the guys had climbed with each other before. I was made to feel so welcome and instantly felt part of the team. By the end of the first day, it was like we were all good mates. The staff & instructors were all top notch. Whilst maintaining the safety aspect of rock climbing we all had a great time and shared a lot of our experiences with each other. I think as a soldier (wounded or not) you miss the comradeship of being part of a team where you rely on another person to watch your back. I can relate to this with climbing because if your belayer isn’t 100% on the ball then you could be in trouble.

What I have taken from climb2recovery is that when things aren’t going your way, step down from the metaphorical rock face of everyday life, have a cup of your favourite brew, have a rethink and step up and try again.

Anyone who is contemplating taking part in something like C2R please take the leap of faith. You will not regret it. It has opened up a new chapter in my life for which I am very grateful.

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