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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 10:44 GMT
Mine victim cycles Death Valley
Stuart Hughes, left, in the MAG cycling team
Hughes, in blue cap, has used cycling for his rehabilitation
A BBC journalist who lost a leg in a landmine explosion in Iraq has cycled through Death Valley in California to raise cash for other mine victims.

Television producer Stuart Hughes, 33, from Cardiff, was one of six in the 200-mile ride through the valley, one of the hottest places on Earth.

Cycling has played an important part in his rehabilitation.

The ride raised 14,000 for the charity Mines Advisory Group (Mag).

He said: "After four days and more than 24 hours in the saddle, the team was finally able to say that we'd taken on Death Valley - and won!

"Despite the searing temperatures and challenging conditions, we encountered very few mechanical problems with only one puncture along the way - which was much easier to repair than our aching limbs!"

The MAG cycling team
The team cycled over four days to complete the 200-mile ride

Mr Hughes has become an activist for mine clearance since he was injured in April 2003.

He suffered blast injuries when he stepped onto a land mine shortly after getting out of his jeep in the small northern Iraqi town of Kifri.

His Iranian colleague Kaveh Golestan - a Pulitzer-prize winning photographer - died instantly after landing on a second mine.

'Amazing experience'

Mr Hughes, who now lives in Ealing, London, was taken to hospital at a US military base and his right leg was later amputated below the knee.

He wore a carbon fibre blade-shaped artificial leg for the four-day Death Valley challenge, which saw the team tackle the 13-mile 3,800 foot climb to the top of the famous Town Pass.

The cyclists then dropped more than 5,000 feet to Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek, then on to Badwather, which at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the United States.

Mr Hughes, who is now back in the UK, said: "It has been an amazing experience which will live long in the memories of everyone who took part."

Mag, a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation, has been clearing mines since the last Gulf War in 1992.

In that time it claims to have destroyed hundreds of thousands of mines and unexploded bombs in 20 countries from Angola to Vietnam.




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