Barlborough Patient Celebrates Birthday and New Hip With the 3 Peaks Challenge
Most of us may consider celebrating our 80th birthday with a nice meal and a generous glass of wine, but for one man from Barnsley, the lure of conquering Britain’s three highest peaks was stronger.
This may be surprising enough, but what makes John Lees’ challenge all the more remarkable is that he did it following a complete hip replacement, carried out at Care UK’s Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre, and raised more than £5,000 for good causes at home and abroad in the process.
In 2008, while creating a new garden in his home in Cawthorne, a rotavator overturned, damaging his hip. As time progressed, arthritis developed in the joint and Mr Lees recalls that it became very painful.
“I was very lucky compared to some people, as my other joints were all sound, but it did hurt and it began to interfere with the things I love.”
Mr Lees, a former land agent and agricultural chartered surveyor, is a Trustee at Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust where he raises funds for the historic garden’s maintenance by leading a team who cut and sell logs to visitors, raising around £10,000 a year.
“I have always been active, walking, climbing and working outdoors but things were becoming increasingly difficult, so I decided to go ahead when my GP said I needed a hip replacement.
Mr Lees was very impressed with the team at the Lindrick Way centre and the speed with which they had him back on his feet.
Everyone was very positive and friendly from the moment I came into the centre.
I had my operation at 1pm and that evening I had a three course meal. The food throughout my stay was excellent.
The team were very encouraging and they had me up on my feet that same evening and, from arriving to leaving the hospital, the process took only two days, which I think was very impressive.”
A year after his surgery, accompanied by his grandson, a fellow Rotarian and two fellow members of All Saints, Cawthorne, where he is a churchwarden, he set about climbing, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon from the very exposed Crib Goch approach.
“I was particularly proud of Crib Goch, it is the toughest of the ascents and at 80 with a replacement hip, it was quite an achievement.”
Mr Lees tackled the challenge by doing a peak a month and raised more than £5,000 to support the disaster relief charity Shelter Box, which sends much-needed tents, sleeping bags and water purification to crisis zones. He also raised money for Barnsley charity Exodus that supports excluded and disadvantaged young people, for All Saints appeal to refurbish its floor and for Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust.
Care UK sponsored Mr Lees for £150 for each peak. Barlborough Hospital Director Steve Booker said:
“We were delighted to donate £450 to John’s fundraising and I am very happy his experience of the first-rate care Barlborough offers all its orthopaedic patients led to this.
We have pioneered new techniques that ensure patients’ pain, scarring and length of hospital stays are minimised and it has won the team a great deal of praise from patients and their relatives.
I think his example shows just what can be achieved after joint replacement and I’m delighted we were able to play a part in his incredible journey.”