Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Marine promised a 'princely' pint


Royal Marine Ben McBean returned from Afghanistan with Prince Harry

Royal Marine Ben McBean was promised a pint by Prince Harry after scaling an 18ft (5.5m) climbing wall.

The Plymouth marine lost his left arm and right leg when he was serving with 40 Commando in Afghanistan.

The prince was at Devonport Naval Base to unveil an expedition to Mount Everest for wounded service personnel.

As Marine McBean began his ascent, Prince Harry called out: "No pressure, Ben. I'll buy you a beer if you reach the top."

Prince Harry is the royal patron of Exercise Khumbu Challenge.

Exercise Khumbu Challenge will involve five teams (about 90 personnel) from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, including those wounded or traumatised in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It will involve various physical challenges in the Khumbu region of Nepal at Everest base camp next October and November.

Getting blown up and losing a few limbs isn't the end of it
Marine Ben McBean

Marine McBean was praised by Prince Harry as "the real hero" after they returned together from service in Afghanistan in February.

He lost two limbs and suffered nerve and skin damage in a landmine explosion in Helmand and was flown back to the UK for treatment on the same flight as Prince Harry.

The 21-year-old, who is also hoping to take part in the London Marathon next year, said scaling the wall successfully had given his confidence a boost and he intended to claim his free drink.

"Getting to the top was quite hard, having lost two limbs. But it was doable," he said.

"He owes me a pint so I'll be getting that one."

Marine McBean said taking part in the Khumbu Challenge would help boost his morale, confidence and independence.

"Mostly I'm looking forward to getting with the lads again and being part of a team," he said.

"Getting blown up and losing a few limbs isn't the end of it - that's what I'm trying to get people to realise.

Royal Marine Ben McBean
Prince Harry described Marine McBean as a "real hero"

"You crack on. That's what we do in the forces.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The expedition will see five teams attempt a number of climbs around the world's highest peak.

The three junior teams, each with 20 trekkers, including five to seven injured personnel, will trek to Everest base camp and attempt to climb Kala Pattar.

Major Jim Bonney, an instructor at the Royal Marine Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, is also bound for Nepal.

Major Bonney was injured six years ago in a mountaineering accident in Alaska with a team of Royal Marines. His right leg was amputated below the knee two years later.

To remain in the service, he then underwent further commando training "to prove my ability to continue to be able to wear a green beret".

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Milton Keynes Citizen Prince launches everest expedition - 36 hrs ago
Rye and Battle Observer Prince launches everest expedition - 43 hrs ago
Sky News Prince Hails Injured Hero - 43 hrs ago
Sky News Harry To Buy Wounded Hero A Beer - 43 hrs ago
Telegraph Prince Harry backs injured soldiers trek to Mount Everest - 43 hrs ago

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