Climber breaks back in three places after 25ft fall off cliff face with no ropes

A climber broke his back in three places after plunging 25ft off a cliff when a piece of rock came off in his hand.

Oli Eyre, 30, said he is lucky to be alive after the horror fall, which also left him with a detached heel, a split vertebrae, three broken toes and internal bleeding during the horror fall.

Oli, of Penkhull, was climbing a secluded limestone cliff on the Staffordshire-Derbyshire border when disaster struck in February.

He told the Stoke Sentinel : "We had done the hard route with the ropes before doing part of it solo with no ropes or harness – just chalk.

"I solo quite a bit and it's not safe but you are in control.

"I was about 25ft up and transferring my weight onto a rock when it just came off in my hand.

"All I knew is that I had to land on my feet. The doctors later told me that if I hadn't rotated I could have ended up quadriplegic or dead.

"I just tried to land like a cat. I landed hard on a slab of limestone."

"I have never felt pain like it. Over the years I have had dislocations, broken ribs, and a broken collarbone.

"But I have never experienced pain like that and I just lay on the floor screaming. I knew that mountain rescue and the ambulance service would be nowhere near.

The former Port Vale reserves goalkeeper was rescued by 17 members of a mountain rescue team and rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

"When I was in the ambulance I said I was from Penkhull and so I wanted to go to the Royal Stoke!"

Oli underwent an operation to 'bolt up' his spine and had a cast on each leg. He also had a cage around his vertebrae.

He added: "I was told I would be affected for the rest of my life and I couldn't dance, but I am now back dancing again.

"I have been on a zimmer frame but am now able to get around without it. I do still feel pain in my heels and know when I have done a lot.

"The Royal Stoke surgeons were brilliant and I want to thank the hospital so much for everything.

"My girlfriend, Hannah Massey, now works there as a rota coordinator. They do brilliant work and have really put me back together."

Now Oli is able to walk again and last month choreographed performances of a Marvellous Party by the Bradwell-based Jill Clewes Academy at Hanley's Regent Theatre.

The former St Joseph's Catholic College pupil is a director at the academy.

Oli started out with Jill Clewes when he was 15 and eventually chose performing over football.

He performed for celebrated composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and received a full scholarship.

He enjoyed plenty of success in London, performing in shows such as Phantom of the Opera and Shrek – where he appeared as Shrek alongside Hollyoaks actress Carley Stenson.

He has worked at Jill Clewes Academy for the past four years.

Academy founder Jill said: "I am so proud of Oli and we work so well together.

"When I found out about his fall I was just devastated, but his recovery is amazing."

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