A HEROIC mountain rescue worker has died from his injuries after he plunged 500ft while trying to save two campers breaking Covid rules.
Chris Lewis, 62, and other volunteers had been called out when the pair of wild campers got into trouble in the Lake District back in February 2021.
The pair had travelled hundreds of miles in breach of lockdown restrictions and then called 999 in the middle of the night when one suffered chest pains.
But Chris was left in a wheelchair after he slipped and fell while trying to reach the law-breaking men above the Kirkstone Pass near Amberside.
The retired engineer was rushed to hospital with multiple facial fractures and damage to his spinal cord.
Brave Chris has now died after being admitted to hospital with a chest infection and pneumonia on September 2.
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Moving tributes were paid today to the self-sacrifice that saw Chris damage his spinal cord, knowing he would never walk again.
Patterdale Mountain Rescue team leader Mike Rippon said: "He was a lovely, genuine person and it is a very sad loss.
"He was very knowledgeable and was a great person to have around in the team.
"His expertise and companionship was brilliant for new team members."
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Despite his terrible injuries, Chris continued to support mountain rescue teams in the Lakes and, in March, received the Inspiring Eden Award for his bravery and service to the community.
Mr Rippon said Chris had remained a trustee, still came to meetings, and was very keen to be back on board and to make the best of things".
He said: "Chris was keen to continue putting as much back into this voluntary rescue service as he possibly could."
The chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, Richard Warren described Chris as a "fantastic guy".
He said that after he was airlifted to accident and emergency, the first thing he asked was how the rescued campers were.
Some members of the MRT had just reached the pair after midnight when Mr Lewis slipped.
The temperature was little above freezing and it was sleeting, members of the team said at the time.
A fund-raiser was launched to help Chris, who suffered multiple facial fractures and damaged his spinal cord during the fall.
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Thousands of people donated and it raised over £1 million.
The campers, from Liverpool and Leicester, were fined £200 each.
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