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Minister Meets Spinal Injuries Campaigner who Survived Manchester Arena Bombing

Pictured from left to right: Tom Pursglove MP, Mark Ridler, Nik Harley OBE, Martin Hibbert

The Minister for Disabled People Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, has visited the headquarters of the Spinal Injuries Association to meet a survivor of the Manchester Arena bomb attack.

The charity welcomed the Minister thanks to TV presenter Dan Walker.

Dan, who met Martin following his inspirational climb of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2021, told the Minister live on his Channel 5 news programme that if he wanted to make life better for disabled people he needed to meet Martin Hibbert.

Martin, who was left paralysed due to a spinal cord injury following the Manchester Arena bombing, raised almost a million pounds from the climb for the Milton Keynes based Spinal Injuries Association.

He now campaigns on behalf of other spinal cord injured people. He is passionate about the work of the Spinal Injuries Association to which he credits with transforming his life post injury.

“I hear lots of stories every week from disabled people struggling with some of the fundamentals of living and that’s completely unacceptable in 2023,” said Martin, Vice President of the Spinal Injuries Association.

“How can it be right that someone is unable to leave their own home due to a lack of available carers or struggles to even access the correct wheelchair, let alone the barriers they face when they are in the outside world.”

During his visit the Minster was lead through the journey of support that the charity provides to a spinal cord injured person. The Minister firstly met clinicians and support co-ordinators to demonstrate that simple coordinated support from the outset leads to improved outcomes.

He also heard from spinal cord injured people that had struggled to receive the care and mental health support they required and why the charity is campaigning for change.

“By meeting those we support, the Minister saw the importance of addressing the complex needs associated with spinal cord injury right from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment, rehab and for life,” added Nik Hartley MBE, CEO of Spinal Injuries Association.

“We have a proven model that addresses these complex needs - linking health and care to an array of support services from the outset. This is not just the right thing to do, but saves the public money, frees up NHS beds, and enables more spinal cord injured people to live fulfilled and productive lives.

“Furthermore, our model could be replicated for other disabled people with life-long conditions.”

To find out more about the Spinal Injuries Association go to



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