THE family of a former SAS soldier who lost five fingertips and all his toes while scaling Mount Everest have described him as "an inspirational role model."

Along with Brummie Stokes, Michael 'Bronco' Lane scaled the world's tallest mountain in 1976 - becoming the fourth and fifth Brits to achieve the feat.

However, the weather soon deteriorated. To keep warm, they rubbed each other's bodies and kept a constant check to ensure that the other did not fall asleep as, if they did, it would have been their last.


Although exhausted, frostbitten and barely alive, Brummie and Bronco continued down and were met by a rescue party - John Scott and Pat Gunson.

Due to the frostbite Bronco and Brummie lost all of their toes and Bronco lost five fingertips while connecting up to a life-saving oxygen supply.

Bronco’s toes and fingertips were donated to the National Army Museum, together with an ice axe.

The toes were not in a good enough condition to be kept but the fingertips are preserved in formaldehyde.

Bronco became a Major, joining the SAS in 1967 and leaving in 2000.

Paying tribute on behalf of the family, Bronco Lane's daughter, Catherine Lane said: "We have been overwhelmed with the many kind messages and love received from all over the world from family, friends, work colleagues and those that had the fortune of meeting Bronco.

Hereford Times: Bronco Lane, who has died aged 78Bronco Lane, who has died aged 78 (Image: Submitted by Bronco Lane's family)

"To us, Bronco was a loving husband, amazing dad, grandad, brother, uncle and cousin and the most supportive friend.

"He was a true gentleman, an inspirational role model to many and believed that if you had the right attitude and gave your very best that you could do great things, of which he did many.

"His strong friendship with Brummie Stokes made them indestructible, their friendship lasted a lifetime and together they achieved their wildest dreams in the mountains and beyond.

"Bronco, we are so proud of what you achieved in life and the legacy that you have left you truly epitomise the motto 'Who Dares Wins. You dared and you won”