Father and son join charity cave expedition

A FATHER and son team from Rotherham plunged into the depths of a Derbyshire cave at the weekend to raise £1,000 for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.

Chris Clayton, 45, from Herringthorpe and 13 others, including his 16-year-old son, Rhys, crawled and abseiled down the P8 Jackpot cave in Castleton before pitching up camp inside for 48 hours.

Father-of-three Mr Clayton, a behavioural support teacher at Thybergh School and Sports College and a part-time climbing instructor for High Sports at Rotherham Leisure Centre, said he wanted to do something to help his friend Steve Griffiths, who suffers from bowel, bladder and prostate cancer.

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Originally, Mr Clayton planned to raise funds to send Mr Griffiths and his wife Janet on holiday to visit family in America. But instead Mr Griffiths wanted to donate the money back to the charity, which supports Sheffield's Weston Park Hospital where he is being treated.

"When Steve heard about the caving expedition he was over the moon," Mr Clayton said. "We chose to raise money for the charity to alleviate some of the stress caused by the condition, which has scared my friend, and wanted to do something that scared me, to put things into perspective."

The cave, which is one of the most popular in Derbyshire, is so named as it was the eighth cave to be found in the area. Its network of complex passages makes it a popular venue for cavers.

The senior fundraiser at Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, Catherine Newman, said: "We truly admire Chris for attempting such a brave act of kindness for Steve, which shows how strong their bond is, and demonstrates a sincere friendship which can be rare to come across.

"We are even more thrilled and privileged that the pair have chosen to donate money raised to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, which will help us to support research, treatment and care for people living with cancer."