Peak District hiker who suffered serious injuries in horror fall launches fundraiser for “unsung heroes” who saved his life

A hiker who sustained serious injuries during a horror fall in the Peak District has praised the “unsung heroes” who helped to save his life.
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Hiker and businessman Matt Hopper almost died back in August after a horror fall at Cave Dale, near Castleton.

An eyewitness saw Matt, from Loughborough, lose his footing, fall 15 feet down a steep incline and ricochet into a wall – leaving him in agony and struggling to breathe. The wall, however, actually saved him falling to his death.

Matt said: “I felt I was in the air forever as I plummeted downwards. I owe my life to Edale Mountain Rescue Team.”

Matt had to be sat up in the stretcher so he could be transported down to a waiting ambulance. 
Image: EMRTMatt had to be sat up in the stretcher so he could be transported down to a waiting ambulance. 
Image: EMRT
Matt had to be sat up in the stretcher so he could be transported down to a waiting ambulance. Image: EMRT

Passing students were able to use the what3words app and called the emergency services with Matt’s precise location.

Edale Mountain Rescue Team (EMRT) and an East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic were with him within 50 minutes. They made sure Matt was coherent, asked him his name, date of birth, where he was from, and even what beer he liked to keep him conscious.

They took his blood pressure and administered morphine, before 19 rescuers took 30 minutes to get Matt down Cave Dale – with eight team members carrying the stretcher he was on. Photographs from the rescue show how rough and steep the terrain was – and how inaccessible Matt’s position was for the EMRT.

Matt broke three ribs and suffered internal bleeding – along with a punctured, collapsed right lung. He spent five days in the Northern General Hospital after his rescue by the EMRT.

Matt is hoping to raise funds for the EMRT after they rescued him earlier this year following a fall. 
Image: EMRTMatt is hoping to raise funds for the EMRT after they rescued him earlier this year following a fall. 
Image: EMRT
Matt is hoping to raise funds for the EMRT after they rescued him earlier this year following a fall. Image: EMRT

Matt said: “My life flashed before my eyes as I fell. I thought that’s it until I hit a wall, barely conscious.

“I still wake up from nightmares where I have died, reliving the accident, thankful to be alive. I realise just how short life is and that you never know what is around the corner. I want to raise awareness for these unsung heroes.”

Matt is now well enough to try to raise awareness and funds for the trained volunteers who saved his life in August.

It takes at least 18 months to train to become a member of the team. EMRT have attended 133 incidents and team search dog handlers have additionally assisted other teams with 12 search incidents in between January and November 8 2023.

An EMRT spokesperson said: “We like helping people, fellow lovers of the great outdoors. It could be one of us, accidents happen, the weather changes, people get lost. We use local knowledge to navigate rough terrain in the dark and are trained to carry out technical rope rescues when people are stranded in inaccessible locations.”

EMRT is supported entirely by charitable donations and all members are volunteers. The team of 50 people have a variety of skills – including paramedics, and A&E nurses.

The team has three fully-equipped first response vehicles with radios, stretchers and first aid equipment.

The link to Matt’s fundraiser can be found here.