AN inquest has been formally opened following the tragic death of inspirational Lake District mountain rescue team volunteer Chris Lewis.

Chris suffered life-changing injuries when he fell almost 500ft on steep ground at Red Screes, above Kirkstone Pass, after turning out with colleagues from the Patterdale team on the night of 6th/7th February, 2021.

Chris and fellow members had responded to a call for help from two men who had been wild camping. One believed he was suffering from a serious medical condition. The men, who had travelled from Liverpool and Leicester, were later given fixed penalty fines for breaching Covid lockdown restrictions.

Following the fall, Chris, who lived near Ambleside and was married to Carol, received immediate medical attention from fellow volunteers before being airlifted to hospital in Preston. After a lengthy period in intensive care, Chris was transferred to the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre in Southport, where he began rehabilitation.

He remained an inspiration to team members and wider community, and earlier this year received the Inspiring Eden award which recognised the bravery and selflessness of his service.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds were raised through a JustGiving appeal to help support wheelchair-bound Chris, whose funeral service took place yesterday (mon). Members of Patterdale mountain rescue team provided a guard of honour with ice axes crossed over his coffin as it entered St Peter’s parish church, Far Sawrey, where many mountain rescue teams and the emergency services were represented.

An inquest into his death, on 4th September at the Furness General Hospital, Barrow-in-Furness, was opened this morning (tues) at Cockermouth coroners’ court.

Dr Nicholas Shaw, an assistant Cumbria coroner, said during the short hearing: “The brief circumstance is that following a serious fall in February, 2021, whilst on the hill, Chris has sustained a traumatic spinal injury at level C5 and was quadriplegic, requiring 24-hour care.

“It appears that there’s been a medical deterioration in his condition and very sadly he died in the hospital.”

Dr Shaw also said: “Given the nature and circumstances of Chris’s injury which was (sustained), I understand, whilst on duty with the mountain rescue team, an inquest is clearly required.”

A provisional date for the resumption and conclusion of the inquest was given as 29th February, 2024.