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Veteran explorer, 84, who beat Covid-19 tops Cornish peak

Veteran explorer, 84, who beat Covid-19 tops Cornish peak thumbnail

Publishedduration4 hours agoimage copyrightEd Smitimage captionVictory kiss for Robin Hanbury-Tenison and wife Louella who helped get him back to fitnessA veteran explorer has climbed Cornwall’s highest peak, five months after surviving coronavirus.Robin Hanbury-Tenison, 84, who was given a 5% chance of living after contracting coronavirus, trekked up Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor.He is raising money…

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image copyrightEd Smit

image captionVictory kiss for Robin Hanbury-Tenison and wife Louella who helped get him back to fitness

A veteran explorer has climbed Cornwall’s highest peak, five months after surviving coronavirus.

Robin Hanbury-Tenison, 84, who was given a 5% chance of living after contracting coronavirus, trekked up Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor.

He is raising money to help fund an intensive care healing garden for the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

After climbing 1,378ft (420m) in atrocious weather, he said: “I’m feeling fantastic that we made it.”

image copyrightEd Smit

image captionRobin Hanbury-Tenison defied atrocious weather to raise the Cornish flag on 1,378ft (420m) Brown Willy

Asked what his next challenge would be, he said: “Make my way to the pub for a pint.”

Mr Hanbury-Tenison was one of the first people in the South West to become seriously ill with Covid-19, in early March, a couple of days after returning from a skiing trip in France.

The garden at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where he spent five weeks in intensive care, helped his recovery.

He said the “moment I knew that I was going to live” was when he was wheeled in to the healing garden at Derriford Hospital.

“I opened my eyes, saw the sunshine, saw the flowers and that was when I knew that my life had been saved, by the healing power of nature,” he said.

image captionThe Derriford garden was created from flowers left over from the cancelled Chelsea Flower Show

The garden was created with the help of designer Tom Massey after flowers grown for the cancelled Chelsea Flower Show were donated to the hospital.

After going back home to Bodmin, Mr Hanbury-Tenison has been rebuilding his fitness, with the help of his wife Louella.

“I had lots of wonderful NHS physio people who came and made me do all sorts of silly exercises,” said the explorer, known for leading a Royal Geographical Society expedition to Borneo in 1977 that helped to preserve the Mulu rainforest.

“When I came out I could walk about five yards on my walking frame and since then Louella has been dragging me up and down little mountains.”

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.