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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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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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