Monthly Archives: April 2020

Bid to fund national memorial for NHS covid victims

An award-winning photographer from Cumbria has launched a million-pound appeal for a national memorial to all NHS staff and carers who have died from Covid-19.

Ashley Cooper, a photographer and environmental campaigner, believes the country should have a permanent memorial to those who die “in the line of duty”.

Ashley Cooper 1

Ashley Cooper: honour NHS victims

He has started a crowd-funding campaign for a place where all affected families can go to grieve and to feel ultimate pride in the sacrifice that their loved ones made.

Ashley, who lives in Ambleside, is the son of a nurse and has two sisters working for the NHS. “So I care that we value the sacrifices our NHS staff and carers are making,” he says.

“As a child of the early 1960’s I grew up listening to tales of heroism and bravery of those who fought in the Battle of Britain. People who were prepared to put their own lives on the line to protect our people and country. At the end of the war, memorials were erected and every year we go to them to remember them and to pay our respects.

“We are still in the middle of this awful crisis and sadly many more will die yet. I do not want them to be forgotten. I want the country to erect a fitting, national memorial to all those who died from the virus in the line of duty. Please join me in raising the funds so that when this is all over we can erect a memorial to make our heroes proud.”

Ashley is no stranger to tackling large-scale campaigns. He spent many years touring every continent taking photographs to document the impacts of climate change, and his subsequent book, Images from a Warming Planet, has become a bible for environmental campaigners.

The book won awards, and Ashley was granted the status of Green World ambassador.

So far the book has reached a wide audience, helping to communicate the urgency of the climate change message, copies now owned by Pope Francis, Prince Charles, Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Sir Tim Smit, Emma Thompson, Chris Packham, Vivienne Westwood, Chris Bonington, Levi Roots and many more.

He says: “Today we face a different kind of crisis. Our doctors, nurses, carers and all staff in the NHS bravely go into work each day, knowing they are potentially endangering their own lives. Often they are forced to treat Covid patients with inadequate PPE. They work in horrendous conditions for long hours with the utmost care for their patients. Tragically many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice and died from this dreadful virus.
“They could have stayed at home, but they chose instead to put themselves willingly on the front line to care for and protect our loved ones.”

Donations can be made at
Photo: Ashley Cooper

Further information: Ashley Cooper, 07590 984302


New Lakes fell race to be postponed

The organisers of a new fell race in the Lake District which was due to be trialled tonight have promised it will be staged next year.

It was hoped that, if successful, the Wansfell Two-Step would become a regular fixture on the fellrunning calendar.

The three-mile race up 1600 ft Wansfell Pike from Ambleside was being organised by Wayne Singleton whose Jogging Pals team run coaching sessions and running holidays.

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And in the spirit of longer – and longer established – races on the fixture list, such as the Old Counties Tops, Haworth Hobble, and Hodgson Brothers Relay, competitors were to run in pairs.

“But we are aware there have been issues at these events with one runner running faster than the other, and not reaching checkpoints at the same time,” said Wayne. “Runners have even been disqualified as it’s in the rules that they stay together.”

So to overcome the problem, runners in this race would have their legs strapped together. “In effect, it will be a three-legged race,” said Wayne. “ It will be a whole new challenge for fell runners.

“We hope to try again once the current crisis has passed. At the moment, the last thing we want is people running close together.”

Wayne (6ft 6 ins) was due to take part strapped to diminutive ultra runner, Ambleside AC’s Jo Kilkenny (5ft 1), who was in training for the now-postponed Celtman triathlon.

Wayne and Jo training

Jo and Wayne training earlier this year before social distancing measures were introduced

“It would have been convenient as my coach had me down to do hill reps that night,” said Jo. “This would have done very nicely instead. And it would be fun to be tied to a man. I’m looking forward to racing this eventually.”

World mountain running champion Sarah McCormack was also due to take part. “I was really looking forward to running with a faster man for a change,” she said. “Now, following government advice, my only permitted training partner is Paul Tierney*.”

Sarah McCormack

Sarah McCormack

The event was to be sponsored by The Climbers’ Shop in Ambleside. Executive Events Director, Cathy Casey, said they were thrilled to be involved in the exciting new venture. “We’re confident that three legged ultra is a great new sector to trail running and have been working with our suppliers to ensure we can have the best running equipment, three-legged run pants, available to them to buy for next year.”

Runners wanting more information are asked to email


*Sarah’s partner Paul Tierney last year set a new record of just over six days for running all 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District.