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This is the emotional moment an Army veteran breaks down in tears after reaching the peak of Ben Nevis – just nine months after having his left leg amputated.
In a video shared online, Jon Hilton, 42, from Hull, can be seen climbing the peak of the UK’s highest mountain as his wife, children and climbing team cheer him on.
Aided only by walking sticks, the father-of-three, who served for the Royal Engineers in Iraq, hugs the ‘trig point’ – a miniature column marking the peak – and breaks into tears.
He told the Mail Online: ‘When I touched the trig point, it was like something out of Takeshi’s Castle or Total Wipeout.
Emotional moment Jon Hilton, 42, hugs the ‘trig point’ marking the peak of Ben Nevis and breaks down into tears
Tears of joy as Jon is hugged by his wife Nikki after completing Ben Nevis climb
‘And as soon as I touched it this wave of emotion came over me. I had achieved such a huge thing for me personally – I proved to myself that I can walk again.
‘I know it sounds silly because I had been walking, but this really proved something to me.’
Jon left the armed forces in 2009 and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee in November due to a blood clot caused by surgery from an injury during his service.
But he suffered a nasty fall in December and landed on his stump, and it had to be amputated higher.
‘I remember falling and the pain was indescribable,’ he recalled, ‘I broke a tibia, severed blood vessels and arteries – the bathroom where I fell looked like something out of a Saw movie.
In a video, Jon can be seen approaching the peak as his family and friends cheer him on
Cheers to that: Jon and his friends have celebratory beer after a gruelling day of climbing
‘And to put it into perspective, I thought that was the worst pain I would ever experience – until I climbed Ben Nevis.’
The veteran of 15 years received his new leg on January 15 this year and set himself the challenge of climbing the three national peaks (Ben Nevis, Mount Snowdon and Scarfell Pike) in three days for charity.
Known as the three peaks challenge, it is an incredibly tough feat for any avid climber.
Upon reaching the top of Ben Nevis, Jon said he was feeling ‘sheer and utter pain’ due to the pressure that had been placed on his stump.
‘Coming down was actually even more painful and by the end of it my stump just looked like a huge blister,’ he added.
‘But as I was walking down from the mountain, a 13-year-old girl put her hands together and told me: “Thank you, you inspire me”, and I just burst into tears, it was the most incredible feeling.’
Jon completed the Ben Nevis climb with his three children, pictured left to right: Ryan, 20, Lauren 21 and Joshua 17
Jon left the armed forces in 2009 and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee in November due to a blood clot caused by surgery from an injury during his service
Jon has raised more than £7,000 for his four veteran charities so far, but has a goal of at least £13,000 on his GoFundMe page
Jon completed Ben Nevis on August 17 and battled through the pain to finish Snowdon on August 19.
But having completed Scarfell as an able-bodied climber and knowing it is the most challenging of the three, he knew he would be taking a great risk in attempting it.
‘I didn’t want to risk having to be rescued and getting the rescue teams out,’ he said, ‘But I will complete Scarfell on October 9 – I just can’t let it go, I can’t let it beat me.’
The gruelling challenge is to help raise money for four veteran charities close to his heart – Blesma (The Limbless Veterans), SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity), Royal British Legion and Hull4Heroes.
Jon has raised more than £7,000 so far, but has a goal of at least £13,000 on his GoFundMe page.
He said the outpouring of support and well wishes has been overwhelming.
‘I don’t see myself as an inspirational person but if I inspire people I think that’s great,’ he said.
‘The words people have told me have meant more than anything.
‘PTSD sufferers and amputees told me they have been inspired by my videos and one woman who has been paralysed in a wheelchair for 20 years said she is now going to try physiotherapy after reading my story, it’s such an incredible feeling.’
He added: ‘I just want everyone to know that no matter your circumstances, you can challenge yourself, you can set yourself goals and you can achieve things.’