The incredible feat raised £22,000 for charity. / eric rowbottom

Gibraltar wheelchair hero takes on the Med Steps Challenge to raise disability awareness

Eric Rowbottom, 59, has been disabled since he was eight, but he decided to raise funds for the Special Needs Action Group and GBC Open Day by pulling himself up the arduous and steep nature trail using only his upper body

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

A wheelchair-user from Gibraltar completed an epic feat last weekend with the aim of raising awareness of the difficulties faced every day by people with disabilities.

Eric Rowbottom, 59, has been disabled since contracting polio when he was eight. Because of his wheelchair, he has never been able to visit one of Gibraltar’s beauty spots, the Mediterranean Steps, a steep and at times challenging nature trail that zig-zags up the Rock through the Nature Reserve.

Crowdfunding campaign

So Eric decided to take on a mega-challenge for a worthy cause - to climb the Med Steps unaided, by using his arms alone to pull himself up. He launched a crowdfunding campaign on JustGiving.com in advance, in the hope of raising £100,000 for the Special Needs Action Group and the GBC Open Day.

The Med Steps are difficult even for the able-bodied, so to many this attempt was doomed to failure, but Eric did it. He dragged himself up the Rock for 1.4 kilometres, with an elevation of 240 metres, in eight and a half hours last Saturday. Needless to say, he was given a massive cheer and round of applause when he reached the top.

That crowdfunding campaign reached £22,000 before coming to an end, but anyone who would like to donate and help to make life better for others can still do so by clicking here.