A paraglider whose ankle was shattered when he fell from the skies in the Lake District will raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) by taking part in a test of endurance – the Ullswater Charity Challenge.
Tony Thompson, 58, of Keswick, was paragliding over Buttermere Valley in the Lake District, when he swung into a rock and broke his leg on February 15, 2013.
Mr Thompson, a teacher at Cockermouth Secondary School, said: “The wind just dropped off so I came into land on the slope. I mistimed it and my leg hit a rock, shattering the ankle. I knew I’d done something right away.”
VIDEO: Mr Thompson’s friend Dave Ashcroft flying in to help
Mr Thompson’s friends alerted mountain rescue and GNAAS was scrambled to the scene.
He added: “I was given some morphine and my leg was put in a splint. I was placed on a stretcher and very carefully carried to the helicopter.”
Mr Thompson was helped from Whiteside Fell by a mountain rescue team before being flown by GNAAS to West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.
He said: “My ankle was shattered into pieces. I had an operation to plate up the fracture which involved putting 23 screws in my ankle. I spent 37 days in hospital and was on crutches until September when I returned back to work.”
Mr Thompson, who has been paragliding since 2004, now aims to give back to the charity by taking part in the endurance challenge. So far, he has received £95 sponsorship from fellow gliders and fell walkers.
He said: “I’m really appreciative of the air ambulance team. They do a really good job and I think it’s a service that we all have to support.”
The Ullswater Charity Challenge is a multi-activity challenge which involves kayaking a 12km circuit on Ullswater, scaling Helvellyn – one of the highest mountains in England – and then kayaking back. The event is organised in conjunction with outdoor activity providers, Distant Horizons.
Participants must make a £60 non-refundable deposit to GNAAS and raise a minimum of £90 sponsorship, with around a dozen places left on the adventure.
All technical equipment is provided including boats, buoyancy aids and paddles.
The challenge will take place on May 24.
To sponsor Tony, click here.
For more information, contact GNAAS on 01325-487263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured: Tony and his family.