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Nearly £700k raised for mountain rescuer who fell 500ft saving campers breaking lockdown

‘We expect him to be at the best case wheelchair-bound but that would be a pretty good outcome’

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The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association / JustGiving

Nearly £700,000 has now been raised for the mountain rescue volunteer who plunged 500ft trying to save two campers flouting lockdown rules.

Yesterday we reported the sad news that he will now have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

60-year-old Chris Lewis was one of the members called out on February 6th to Red Screes in the Lake District after two men, who had travelled from Liverpool and Leicester, required help.

One of the men, a 47-year-old from Leicester, suffered chest pains during the night which meant the pair needed to call for help.

The campers were each fined £200 for breaching the lockdown rules.

Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association – LDSAMRA / Facebook

However, Chris fell on the rescue mission and it has sadly been confirmed he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

An online fundraiser has been set up to help provide Chris with the support he’ll need for the rest of his life, with £690,052 having been raised at the time of writing, from nearly 32,000 different donors.

Patterdale Mountain Rescue team leader Mike Rippon said: “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 / JustGiving

Speaking on how the catastrophic injuries suffered by Chris had hit the entire team, Rippon said: “It has been significant. In the last seven days or so we have tried to assess the team’s morale, mental wellbeing and how it has affected everybody.

“We’ve put things in place to allow people to reach out about what they’re feeling as a result of the incident. These things don’t come out in people overnight so we’ll have to monitor things for the foreseeable future.

“We are a team of dedicated volunteers and like everyone in mountain rescue we give our time freely, we go out and rescue people at the drop of a hat. It is unfortunate that in this case these people were breaking lockdown rules.

“The outpouring of sympathy has been humbling and the funds raised will go to Chris for the long term, they will be for his future.”

Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association – LDSAMRA / Facebook

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

“I’ve seen some things in my time but you never expect to have to rescue one of your own. He’s having conversations with me already about where we are going to go in the wheelchair.”

Despite the anger felt towards the two campers online for flouting the lockdown rules, Martin Cotterell from the team of volunteers said they are ‘not there to judge’.

He said: “We are there to help. 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.”

You can donate here – we know times are hard, but please dig deep everyone.

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Labour pledges to renationalise railways and hire thousands of doctors and nurses

The party’s shadow transport secretary said the conservative’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’

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The Labour Party

The Labour party has pledged to bring the nation’s railways back into state ownership if it wins the next general election.

Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool today, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said putting ‘failing private operators in the hands of the public’ would ‘improve services and lower fares’. 

Haigh added that the government’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’ and turned railways into a ‘cash machine for companies and foreign governments’.

She cited the recent Avanti West Coast disruption as an example, slamming it as ‘the worst performing operator in the country’ over its long delays and service disruptions.

During its conference, the party also promised a recruitment drive for thousands more NHS doctors, nurses and midwives by reversing the Conservative party’s abolition of the 45p tax rate for top earners.

The scrapping of the 45p tax rate – which is paid for by those who earn over £150,000 a year – has received huge backlash from both Labour and Conservative MPs, many of whom say the move is only set to benefit the wealthy.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the billions of pounds saved on reversing this cap would deliver ‘one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history’, instead of handing financial rewards to the UK’s top earners.

She announced that under Labour’s plan, the money saved would pay to double the number of district nurses qualifying every year, train 5,000 more health visitors, and create an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery each year.

She also said that the number of medical school places would be doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 to ‘make sure that everyone who wants to train as a doctor in Britain can’.

Reeves said: “Our priority is not tax cuts for the wealthiest few – it is securing our public finances and investing in our public service.

“I can tell you: with a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share. The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”

 

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Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.

The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.

He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.

He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.

“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.

“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor

NEWS JUST IN

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.

He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.

There’s also unit price limits for companies.

Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.

As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.

He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.

Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.

As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.

This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.

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