Runner raising money for GNAAS after they saved his dad’s life

A KEEN runner is raising money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) after his father was airlifted following a heart attack in the Lake District.

Chris Thain, a 30-year-old GP from Newcastle, will take part in an ultra-distance fell run to raise money for the charities which he says saved the life of his father, Phil, in 2015.

Phil, 58, from Newcastle, who now lives in Buinerveen in the Netherlands, was on holiday with his partner Syl Van Soest when the incident happened.

After previously walking round Buttermere in 2014, the couple wanted to return so that they could climb Haystacks.

Unfortunately, before they could reach the summit, Phil started to feel seriously unwell with what later turned out to be a heart attack.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) and GNAAS attended the scene, and Mr Thain was airlifted to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. Meanwhile, Ms Van Soest was helped down off the mountain by CMRT.

With his condition already perilous, Mr Thain received urgent surgery. During the procedure, his heart stopped but medics at the hospital were able to revive him.

Since then he has made a full recovery and even goes cycling several times a week.

To thank the rescue teams for saving his father’s life, Chris and his friend Dan Reece-Loram, 29, from York, are raising money for both charities by attempting the Bob Graham Round fell run in August.

The Bob Graham Round is a tough 66 mile, 27,000ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District within 24 hours.

Chris said: “Without both charities I think he may have died and I couldn’t be more thankful for their work. I am a keen runner and lover of the Lakeland fells.

“Completing the Bob Graham Round has been an ambition of mine for several years and I feel given its location it would be a great event to use to try and give something back to the air ambulance and mountain rescue teams.

“I am amazed by the work that GNAAS does as a charitable organisation. I know as a medic the importance of speed in dealing with events such as this and without the air ambulance I just don’t think dad would have made it off that hill in time to receive the medical treatment he needed.

“They saved his life and my family and I couldn’t be more grateful for this.”

GNAAS needs to raise around £5m a year to continue to operate. For more information, please visit

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