22 November 2017

He may be 80-years-old, but that didn’t deter David Ritchie from climbing to the top of one of the Lake District’s highest peaks in atrocious weather conditions to raise funds for SaTH.

                David and Judy Ritchie

It took David and his fellow walkers more than 11 hours to complete their hike up Helvellyn, raising a total of £3,500 for charity – £2,000 of which has been donated to the Trust’s colorectal surgery fund; with £1,500 donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

David, who lives near Bridgnorth, wanted to say thank you to SaTH’s colorectal team – led by Mr Mark Cheetham – who helped to save his life after a battle with bowel cancer. David completed his epic trek of Helvellyn earlier this year accompanied by his daughter Manti Ritchie, nephew Adrian Harris and Adrian’s son Sam Harris.

David, who is married to Judy, said: “I have done Helvellyn a few times before and I wanted to do it again as a challenge to myself. My nephew then asked if he could come – and then his son, and my daughter too. It was my nephew who suggested that I do it for charity as a thank you and I thought it was a great idea.

      David climbs Helvellyn

“To climb to the top of Helvellyn, we had to make our way across Striding Edge which has 200 ft sheer drops down either side. Two of the group suffer from vertigo and the weather was horrific, but despite this they made the brave decision to carry on. It took us about five hours to get across the ridge. The whole trip was meant to have taken us around five to six hours – so our partners, who were waiting for us, were concerned and contacted the police when we hadn’t returned. The police were great and they were delighted when we called to say we were safe!

“It took us 11 hours in howling gales, rain and poor visibility but it made raising the money even more worthwhile. We always had smiles from Mark and his team, and this is our way of saying thank you. My GP, and Mark and his team saved my life.”

                       Reaching the top!

Mr Mark Cheetham, Colorectal Consultant Surgeon at SaTH, said: I was delighted to see David recently for his last follow-up appointment. It really was a pleasure to see him looking so well. I was completely bowled over by his generosity in raising £2,000 for the colorectal surgery fund. We will put the money to good use to help improve the treatment of other people with bowel problems.”