A COURAGEOUS hero of the snows is launching a mammoth fundraising effort in praise of colleagues who saved his life.
Eight months ago Phil Beard, one of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT)’s longest serving members, received appalling injuries after falling 60ft on a training exercise.
The full force of the rescue services were called on after Phil, 60, from Uppermill, was critically injured at Upperwood Quarry, near Dovestone in Greenfield.
He was treated at the scene by his colleagues before being transported by air ambulance to the intensive care unit at Salford Royal Infirmary.
His devastating catalogue of injuries included 26 fractures, the most serious in his neck, back and pelvis.
He had two metal rods inserted into his spine to hold a crushed vertebra in place and plates were used to reform his shattered pelvis.
Now, in a personal tribute to OMRT and North West Air Ambulance, the father of two, plans to attempt to swim 100 lengths of Saddleworth pool on Sunday, September 6.
On the road to recovery, Phil recorded his thoughts and emotions of his personal fight back to health for his mountain rescue team “family.”
In it, he dismisses his horrendous fall as “a test of gravity” and reflects: “I’ve been back to visit the scene and luckily I actually landed between two mighty boulders… It could have been a very different story.”
Phil, who runs a business as an independent trainer of emergency services and the military, added: “I became very emotional, which as anyone who knows can testify just isn’t me.
“I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I have never done and will never do that. I just felt sorry and emotional for my family and all those involved in my rescue.
“Those who saw me disappear and fly past – they could not do anything but watch – just like all those who saw me fly through the air and land with a thud.
“I thought of those who superbly cared and treated me and helped watch over my family.
And in a special tribute to his stalwart wife Wendy, he said proudly: “She’s the best nurse in the world.”
OMRT’s respected doctor, Andrew Taylor, said: “Its a tribute to Phil’s pre-existing fitness, his unstoppable optimism and the sheer hard graft he has put in to his recovery that he is as remarkably well and active as we see him today.
“None of his doctors, nurses or therapists expected the speed or extent of recovery Phil forged for himself.
“He says he’s not there yet but working hard on it. This one-mile swim attempt is typical of his generosity and his can-do attitude.”
To make a donation (any amount) in support of Phil’s Trojan effort, go to his Just Giving Page.