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Seriously injured rescuer described as "a fantastic guy" PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Tuesday, 16 February 2021

chris lewis.pngA mountain rescue volunteer seriously injured in a fall after a mission went wrong has been described as “a fantastic guy.”


Sixty-year-old Chris Lewis, a member of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue team, received life changing spinal injuries when he fell 500 feet on Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass.


The team had gone to the aid of two campers from Liverpool and Leicester after one of them had fallen ill with chest pains.


The pair should not even have been in the Lakes and were subsequently fined £200 each under coronavirus-related restrictions.


However, it was confirmed today that provided the fine is paid within 14 days, the amount will be halved to £100.


The campers, who called for help after one of them started suffering chest pains, have been widely condemned online, but Martin Cotterell from the team said volunteers "are not there to judge".


"We are there to help," he said. "We all love the fells, we are all mountaineers, we go out there because we think we can help people in difficulty. Trying to judge is wrong."


Mr Lewis, who also suffered multiple facial fractures in the fall is still in intensive care.


Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, said Mr Lewis was a "fantastic guy" and the support had been "overwhelming".


Mr Warren said the first thing Mr Lewis said when he arrived at the hospital was "how's the other casualty?"

John Bamforth, treasurer of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, the umbrella body for teams in the area, has set up a JustGiving page with the goal of collecting half a million pounds to be used in caring and supporting Mr Lewis.

Mr Lewis’s team said in a statement: “Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of support to the team and to our injured colleague, Chris Lewis, since the tragic accident on Red Screes.

“We have all been overwhelmed by your good wishes and your generosity, and have been keeping in touch with Chris and his family to pass on your support.

“The injuries our colleague sustained are life-changing and there is an understandable desire to donate funds to support our team member’s recovery, rehabilitation and care.”

Patterdale MRT said its charitable purpose barred it from raising funds for Mr Lewis’s support, so the JustGiving page had been set up by the umbrella association. At the time of writing, more than 4,000 people had donated to it, and the fund had topped £90,000.

The Patterdale team said a major fundraising campaign was planned. Details would be released in due course. “The severity of Chris’s injuries cannot be overstated and he will need significant support for the rest of his life,” a team spokesperson said.

“Chris is one of 40 volunteers in Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, from all walks of life and a wide range of ages. The team typically responds to approximately 70 incidents a year, usually, but not always, with less tragic consequences.

“We strongly encourage you to be cautious about donating to independently established funding sites, none of which we have authorised. We know that many of them are well intentioned and have raised significant sums, but it is not uncommon for some to be set up for fraudulent purposes and we would not wish for you to be misled.”

Donations can be made via the JustGiving site.  Cheques can also be sent to the LDSMRA treasurer. Details are on the association website. People donating should make it clear the cheque is for the Chris Lewis support fund.




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