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Mountain-climbing pensioner with two new hips praises Whittington Hospital staff

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 December 2014

Garry Kennard at the peak of Moel Siabod, Snowdonia, Wales.

Garry Kennard at the peak of Moel Siabod, Snowdonia, Wales.

Archant

A 66-year-old man who climbed a mountain just three months after a second hip replacement at the Whittington Hospital is planning to attempt an unconquered peak in Nepal.

Garry Kennard, who climbed to the 2,500ft peak of Moel Siabod in Snowdonia in November, has now set his sights on his fourth attempt of Kande Hiunchuli, an unclimbed mountain in the far west of Nepal, having already made it just 600m shy of the 6,700m summit on his last attempt.

The mountaineer has praised all members of staff, “from the cleaners to the consultants”, at the Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, for his remarkable recovery.

Mr Kennard, who lives with his partner Edith, 70, has spent his life climbing mountains all over the world and has even led four expeditions in the Himalayas. He first realised something was wrong with his left hip three years ago, after coming back from a trip in Nepal.

“The pain kept creeping up on me until I found it more and more difficult to just walk around and I had to resort to using a stick,” said Mr Kennard.

After having X-rays at the Whittington, Mr Kennard was told he was suffering from avascular necrosis, a condition where blood supply to the bones is damaged. He had a hip replacement four months later, in February.

“They could have just looked at me and seen an old man, but when I told them about my lifestyle, they listened and really took it on board,” he said.

But as he recovered the pain returned and he was told he needed a second hip replacement. He was back in surgery only two months later.

Mr Kennard, of Dunford Road, Holloway, is now looking forward to the future and hopes, if he manages to raise enough money for the trip, to climb Kande Hiunchuli in west Nepal. After this final challenge, Mr Kennard says he will “wind down” his adventurous pursuits, adding: “The NHS gets a lot of stick these days and it strikes me they don’t get nearly enough praise for the work they do.

“If you’re my age and you have to take out one to two years due to an injury, you’ve lost quite a large proportion of your remaining active years. They’ve saved me eight to nine years of those and I’m really grateful.”

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