A Sandwell councillor who ‘almost died’ after being exposed to hypothermia in a charity hike has thanked his hero colleagues for ‘saving his life’.
Jay Anandou was descending from Ben Nevis’ summit when his body temperature dropped to a dangerously low level.
The dad, who was raising money for Brandhall Community Hub, said he began experiencing chronic muscle cramps from adverse weather – leaving him paralysed near the top of the munro. “I remember thinking ‘I’m finished’ if I don’t get rescued,” said the 40-year-old.
With an official rescue team almost two hours away, Jay said his Sandwell Council colleagues, also doing the climb, had to act quickly. Couns Laured Kalari and Archer Williams – along with a Geordie mechanic the group had met on their trek named Dean – helped carry him down from the 4,413 ft peak.
Coun David Wilkes had also joined the hikers but was ahead of the group when Jay fell ill and could not be contacted, said the Old Warley councillor. “I wouldn’t have survived without them.”
He added: “I kept trying to drag myself but at one point I wasn’t able to move because my body seized up with cramps. I thought to myself, if I don’t get rescued, I’m finished.
“My face was pale from the hypothermia and people were asking me if I was okay but I wasn’t able to talk. The rescue team said it would be over an hour-and-a-half to reach me and I knew I wouldn’t survive that long.”
Luckily, the rescue team managed to meet the group halfway in their four-hour descent to the bottom. “I’m lucky to be alive and I can’t thank everyone enough,” said Jay, who raised £360 for his chosen charity and will donate half of his October councillor allowance on top.
Brandhall Community Hub provides help for vulnerable families in the area. It runs a food pantry, uniform and baby banks, and a ‘warm space’ during winter months.
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