Chris Lewis: £550,000 raised for mountain rescuer who fell 150m while helping rule-breaking campers

·2-min read

More than £500,000 has been raised in less than two days for a mountain rescue volunteer who suffered life-changing injuries while helping two campers breaching lockdown rules.

Chris Lewis, from the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District, fell 150m (500ft) down a steep slope while on a callout to Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass.

The 60-year-old suffered multiple facial fractures and damaged his spinal cord during the rescue in the early hours of 6 February.

The rescue team had been called out to help a 47-year-old man from Leicester who was camping with another man from Liverpool.

The man who required help was taken to hospital with chest pains and quickly recovered.

Both campers were fined for breaching coronavirus travel restrictions.

A fundraising drive was launched on Tuesday to help Mr Lewis with his recovery, rehabilitation and care as he remains in hospital.

The JustGiving page originally showed a target of £100,000, but more than double this amount had been raised by 5.30pm the same day.

The figure had risen to nearly £550,000 by about 5pm on Wednesday.

Fundraisers had set a new target of £500,000 after the original £100,000 mark was surpassed.

A statement on the JustGiving page 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.

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

Richard Warren, chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, told BBC Breakfast earlier this week: "I've been in mountain rescue for a very long time and this is the worst accident I have seen in the last four decades, it really is hitting people hard.

"But the support is fantastic and we want to pass our thanks to everybody who has sent messages of support."

He described Mr Lewis as a "fantastic guy" and said the first thing he did after he was airlifted to hospital was ask how the rescued camper was.