Simon Ellis, second from right, with rescuers, from left, Dave Freeborn, Syd Burns and John Williams. Photo: Patterdale MRT

Simon Ellis, second from right, with rescuers, from left, Dave Freeborn, Syd Burns and John Williams. Photo: Patterdale MRT

A man who was rescued following an avalanche in the Lake District has been reunited with volunteers who came to his aid – 40 years after the incident.

Simon Ellis was with a group of six Venture Scouts swept into Nethermost Cove in January 1984.

Three of the young climbers were killed and the others were seriously injured, including Simon, who was 17 at the time.

The former Venture Scout, who grew up in Stockton-on-Tees but now lives in Colorado Springs in the USA, had a surprise reunion on Wednesday with some of the members of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team who were called out to the site on the flanks of Nethermost Pike.

His wife Tracy contacted the team to arrange the meeting while the family was on holiday in the Lake District. She said: “We were staying in Ambleside and Simon knew we were taking our children and his father, Neville, over to Patterdale for the evening but neither of them knew that I’d been in touch to organise a meet up.

“Both Simon and Neville found it very emotional and it was great to be able to talk about the incident and for our children to see the rescue centre and find out more about mountain rescue too.”

A team spokesperson said it was also an emotional evening for four rescuers. Dave Freeborn, still a member of Patterdale MRT as well as being the team’s president, was one of those involved back in 1984, as was former team member, Syd Burns and former team chairman John Williams.

Another current team member, Mark Tomlinson, was rescued from Nethermost Pike 10 years after Simon’s rescue so he joined the reunion too.

Dave Freeborn said: “We were able to dig out the logbook from 1984 and familiarise ourselves with the details, although a rescue like that, with three fatalities and three seriously injured young people, sticks in your mind.

“Several teams were involved, not only Patterdale, as we also asked for support from Langdale Ambleside, Penrith, Kirkby Stephen and Kendal teams as well as RAF Linton who were in the area.

“There was a huge amount of snow on the fells at that time and the rescue itself took over eight hours. I also remember it took us a few days to retrieve our team Land Rover from the snow drifts after the rescue too!”

The Ellis family ended the evening chatting with the team and sharing memories, with cake provided by Mark Tomlinson’s wife Kate Tomlinson.

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