A Northamptonshire man who cheated death in a fall from England’s third tallest mountain is to raise money for the rescue team that saved his life.
Joe Gilbert has spent three years fighting back to fitness after a horrific accident on the Swirral Edge ridge in March 2016. Now, after undergoing 11 operations, he is joining a group of friends on a cycle ride to Paris in support of the volunteer rescuers who went to his aid.
Mr Gilbert, who grew up in Oundle and whose family owns the Beans Coffee Stop in the town, was walking on Helvellyn, in the Lake District, when he fell 200m.
He said: “I broke my neck, kneecap, ankle, foot, shoulder, hand and most of my ribs. I also dislocated an ankle and shoulder and collapsed a lung.
“Over the next eight hours, the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team somehow managed to keep me alive on the side of the freezing cold mountain.
“It took two helicopters, 19 Patterdale members and countless hours of medical and practical experience to save my life. Without them I simply wouldn’t be here.”
During the next two years, Mr Gilbert had “countless hours of physio” and eventually went back to visit the team at Patterdale to say thank you.
“It was a very humbling day,” he said. “The team is driven, dedicated, knowledgeable and seriously hardworking. The amount of their free time they give to help others is incredible.”
Mr Gilbert, who now lives in London, will be joined on his ride by former Prince William School friends Ben Norwell and Simon Felton, from Oundle, Olly Cogan from Northampton, and George Cliff from London, plus Matt Randell, from Crewe.
They will set off on Saturday, May 11 and aim to complete the ride within four days, raising as much funds as they can to buy equipment for the mountain rescue team which is run by volunteers and relies on donations.
Anyone wishing to donate to his cause can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joe-gilbert3