Dorset family climb Snowdon to raise money for Ambulance Charity in memory of Rhys
The family and close friends of a Dorset Community First Responder (CFR) who sadly passed away last year have completed the fundraising challenge he was planning – by climbing Mount Snowdon while carrying a full emergency response kit.
Rhys Jones was a volunteer CFR in Blandford, Hamworthy, and Poole for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT). Before he took his own life in October 2021, he had been planning to raise money for the Trust's charity by climbing the highest mountain in Wales.
Following Rhys’ death, his family decided that they wanted to honour him by taking on the challenge themselves in support of the South Western Ambulance Charity. They raised an amazing £8,206.47 in his memory and have now presented the charity with the funds.
Rhys’ father Nigel, mother Lorraine, and step-mother Lisa, with support from his sisters Nikki and Kayleigh, close friends and colleagues, took on the gruelling climb in May.
Despite poor visibility, rain and hail, eight of the 10 people taking part made it to the top, two of them carrying the full emergency response kit, including oxygen cylinders, each kit weighing 10.5kg (23lb) in total. At 1,085m (3,560ft), Snowdon is the highest mountain in the British Isles outside Scotland.
Rhy’s father Nigel, from Poole, says: “We are so incredibly proud to be able to have honoured Rhys in such a special way.
“He was committed to his role as a CFR, and was always willing to help his community and the ambulance service, no matter the ask or the time of day.
"He was also keen to raise awareness of the important work they do in the community and to attract more people into the role.
“I know that he would be so pleased that we have been able to complete the challenge, raising money which will help CFRs deliver their vital role to patients."
CFRs are trained members of the public who volunteer in their local community by attending emergency calls and providing care ahead of an ambulance's arrival. They attend a wide range of patients, including those experiencing medical emergencies such as a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. Some are also trained to use a Raizer Lifting Chair to help patients who have fallen but not injured themselves.
Zoe Larter, head of the South Western Ambulance Charity, says: “We are hugely grateful to Nigel, Lisa, Lorraine and all of Rhys’ family, friends and colleagues for their amazing achievements and magnificent donation.
“During their epic climb, the weather threw everything at them and they did a really great job.
“The money they raised will be used to purchase two Raizer Lifting Chairs and will also contribute towards fuel costs for the six group CFR cars that we will be purchasing with funding from an NHS Charities Together grant.
“I know that Rhys was passionate about the responder role and making sure the best equipment was available to help patients, and so we hope he would be proud of what his family has been able to achieve”.
CFRs are trained and governed by SWASFT. The South Western Ambulance Charity raises money to help support Trust employees and volunteers through support for health, wellbeing and continuous personal development; the provision of enhanced equipment; and improved facilities.
Rhys' personal fundraiser has now closed but donations to support CFRs can be made here: Support CFRs
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