26 Feb 2021 11:39
Published by: Scott Callan

Former King's School Deputy Head Boy Chris Lewis has suffered life-changing injuries after a horrific fall while performing a rescue mission in the Lake District.

Chris, 60, who left King's in 1979, fell 150m down a steep slope while on a callout to Red Screes above Kirkstone Pass near Ullswater. He was part of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue team called out in the early hours of February 6 to help a 47-year-old hill climber from Leicester who had called for assistance after collapsing with chest pains. He and his climbing partner who had travelled up from from Liverpool were brought down off the mountain and have subsequently been fined £200 each for breaching Covid rules. Once off the mountain, the climber from Leicester recovered quickly and both men are said to be safe and well.


Chris, however, a former AstraZeneca engineer who has been part of the Patterdale team for the last three years, has partially severed his spinal chord and sustained multiple facial fractures. He is paralysed from the neck down and though some improvements are hoped for, he is likely to need significant support for the rest of his life.


A fundraising drive was launched last week to help Chris with his recovery, rehabilitation and care. A JustGiving page: has already raised over £800,000 in just a few days as the tragedy drew national attention.


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.

Chris left King's to read Engineering at Durham University and hadworked for many years for Astra Zeneca in Macclesfield and Alderley Park until he retired three years ago. 


He is remembered by former classmates and King’s teachers as a hard-working, meticulous and exceptionally fit young man who was a talented academic and did much to welcome younger pupils into the school. 

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