Patterdale Mountain Rescue named injured volunteer in rescue mission

Patterdale Mountain Rescue named injured volunteer in rescue mission

The volunteer lifesaver injured on a rescue mission above Kirkstone Pass has been named as Chris Lewis.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue lifesaver Chris, 60, fell 150 metres from Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass on February 6.

Chris and colleagues were aiding one of two wild campers who had fell ill. The Cumbrian mountain rescue volunteer suffered severe spinal injuries and it is feared he will never walk again. 

Chris Lewis, 60, suffered severe spinal injuries when he fell 500ft (150m) in the Lake District on 6 February.

He was part of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue team going to the aid of two campers from Liverpool and Leicester after one fell ill.

Both campers have been fined £200 for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue team leader Mike Ripon told the press: "He's got quite a lot of damage to his back in the area of his neck which has pretty serious and critical conditions for the future. 

 "We expect him to be at the best case wheelchair bound but that would be a pretty good outcome."

The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association has launched a fundraising campaign for Chris on Just Giving which has already received £3,805 in donations.

LDSAMRA said: "The severity of Chris's injuries cannot be overstated and he will need significant support for the rest of his life." 

Mr Lewis, who also suffered multiple facial fractures in the fall at Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass, is still in intensive care.

His colleague Mike Blakey said: "I've done this for 25 years, I can honestly say this was the worst rescue.

Rescue volunteer Ben Hammond, who was the first to get to Mr Lewis after he fell down a steep slope, said: "He's a very experienced member of the team and is someone to look up to.

"Certainly his injuries are life changing."

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."

Online fundraisers have been set up and raised thousands of pounds for the team.

Local resident Kate Whittenbury, who started one of the funds, said: "Local people are quite angry about it to be honest. It didn't really have to happen, they shouldn't have been here in the first place.

"I just thought something positive needed to be done to offset the negativity."

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

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