Chris Lewis reamains in hospital after the callout on Red Screes

Chris Lewis reamains in hospital after the callout on Red Screes

An appeal for funds to help a mountain rescuer severely injured during a callout has reached its £½m target in less than 36 hours.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team said the public response to the Chris Lewis Support Fund has been incredibly impressive.

The JustGiving page was established by the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association after Mr Lewis suffered life-changing injuries during a callout on Red Screes earlier this month.

The original target amount was surpassed on Wednesday, with almost 25,000 people contributing a total of more than £542,000 at the time of writing.

Patterdale MRT team leader Mike Rippon said: “On behalf of Chris Lewis and his family, Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team is immensely grateful for the public’s exceptional generosity and the speed with which the initial target of £500k for the Chris Lewis Support Fund has been reached.

“It is a real indication of people’s understanding of Chris’s truly life-changing situation and the long-term clinical and care implications of his injuries.

“To see the support fund, set up through our regional mountain rescue organisation LDSAMRA pass the £500,000 mark after less than 36 hours is incredibly impressive, and we thank everyone who has made a donation, be it large or small.

“We are going to continue to accept donations for the foreseeable future as a very substantial sum needs to be raised to meet the exceptional costs of Chris’s future support. It is not currently possible to put a figure on our eventual fundraising target but we know that the support fund will be essential for the rest of Chris’s life.

“Like everyone else, we send Chris and his family all best wishes.”

The experienced 60-year-old rescuer suffered spinal injuries and facial fractures when he fell 150m on steep ground on the mountain above Kirkstone Pass in the early hours of 6 February. The Patterdale team had responded to a call for help from two men wild camping, one of whom was experiencing chest pains.

The two men who prompted the callout had travelled from Liverpool and Leicester and were given fixed penalties for contravening lockdown regulations. The camper who felt ill was discharged from hospital the same day.

Mr Lewis was airlifted by Coastguard helicopter to hospital in Preston. Neighbouring rescue teams responded to requests by Patterdale MRT to help in the incident.

The rescuer remains in intensive care in hospital.

Mr Rippon said: “The background to this tragic accident reinforces the absolute necessity for people to strictly observe the current ‘stay local’ and ‘stay low’ guidance. And it reminds us all of the risks mountain rescue volunteers and emergency service personnel take every day, and sadly the grave sacrifices they sometimes make.”

Donations to the support fund can be made via the JustGiving website.

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