A MAN who nearly lost his life in a paragliding crash in the Lake District will run a half-marathon to raise funds for his rescuers.
Dave Tighe, 42, from Preston, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries including a broken spine when he fell more than 80ft at Tarn Crag in Great Langdale in May last year.
The father-of-two now wants to support the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team by running the Village Bakery Wrexham Half Marathon in north wales to thank them for their part in his rescue.
Mr Tighe, an offshore medic, said: “The incident occurred during a speedwing-paraglider launch. The wing collapsed shortly after take-off and I impacted heavily at the top of a cliff edge before tumbling unsupported 80ft down the rock face wrapped in equipment.”
GNAAS, LAMRT and the RAF Sea King worked together to save the man’s life before he was flown to the Royal Preston Hospital by air ambulance.
Mr Tighe said: “I feel very lucky and so glad to be alive. I was rescued from a difficult location well over 1000ft up the mountain. Dozens of rescuers mobilised to the location and scaled to the scene with admirable skill and fitness.
“Two of these agencies rely entirely on donations for their funding, hence the reason for my up and coming pain.”
He and his wife-to-be Karin Delday, who he plans to wed in May, a year after his near-fatal accident, will run 13 miles on February 14. He said: “Karin, as always, will be alongside me the whole time, as she has been throughout this recent rollercoaster.
“Running is the hardest and probably the most painful thing that I can currently do to myself, I haven’t done anything more than jog a few miles in the last 15 years and that was when I was well.
“Although still in daily discomfort and over 3cm shorter, I’m moving ahead and looking forward to the future. Running is problematic. That’s the mechanics, five spinal vertebrae held together with many screws and scaffold isn’t a body addition that supports flexibility or shock absorption. Long term running will not be the choice of activity for me but for now I want to do it because I can.
“I will complete this half marathon in less than three weeks’ time, even if it ends with a crawl.”
Grahame Pickering, chief executive at GNAAS said: “We are thrilled at Mr Tighe’s fundraising efforts and inspired by his story. His rescue involved many different agencies, each with their own skillset, to provide the best outcome for the patient.
“We want to wish him the best of luck for his run and thank him for his support.”
So far more than £1,400 has been raised. To donate visit: sponsorme.co.uk/davetighe/feetontheground