Reg Vernon was born on 11 August 1934 in Liverpool though spent most of his time living further south. He was the most terrific, vibrant individual that you could possibly meet and lived a life that was jam-packed to the full. He was an active walker, climber, and mountaineer to the end, and loved the freedom of lightweight camping in the mountains. He took up skiing in his 50’s and refused to let age be a barrier to anything as he discussed the possibilities of starting weight training and surfing in his 70th year! He was a committed Christian, an active member of his local community in Kingston through his work and mentoring to disadvantaged kids on local estates and a loving husband, father and grandfather.
He was a friend to all – young and old and his premature death left a great void in the world. He had so much left to give and his death was just too sudden and too unfair.
Reg Vernon died on Feb 5th 2005 from multiple injuries sustained in a long fall on Great Gable whilst out walking with friends from Surbiton and Kingston Mountaineering Club, a part of his life for 25 years. His family and friends are indebted to the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team who were part of the attempt to save his life, but sadly nothing could be done.
However sometime before that fatal winter weekend Reg discussed, with June, the possibility of where he would like his ashes scattered if he should die. Typically, Reg decided that he wanted his ashes scattered on all 57 Lakeland peaks above 2,500 feet – the remarkable, strenuous and lengthy mountaineering circuit he completed in a period of just 10 days in 2004.
This was a bit of a challenge but was repeated by a large team of climbing friends and family on the weekend of 11/12 June 2005 – a final visit to the Lake District mountains Reg loved and was a part of for so many years.
Now every summit will always hold happy memories of Reg for us.
What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.
George Leigh Mallory, 1922
Reg, you certainly enjoyed life. We’ll all look back on your life with joy.
In loving memory of Reginald Vernon known as Reg. 1934 -2005
Reg was one of six children and he was born August 11 1934 in the Liverpool village of West Derby, where he had a very happy childhood. He attended the local school and went on to study Design engineering after completing his national service in Accaba, Jordan. Reg moved to Richmond, Surrey at 22 and the following year was in a serious car accident. He refused to allow doctors to amputate his foot, an operation that would certainly put an end to his climbing adventures.
He married in 1960 to Rispah and had three children Amanda, David and Lewis. Unfortunately they separated after 13 years, Amanda and David continued to live with him. In his working life Reg was a Production Manager of a printing press. He later became Assistant manager at Kingston’s Murray House day centre for the elderly. Where he met his second wife June in 1988. Inheriting 3 step-children Nick, Claire and Simon, He was also a devoted grandfather to his 11 grandchildren.
Reg started climbing at the age of 15 a passion he continued throughout his life. He began with the peaks of North Wales and the Lake District, but went on to conquer mountains such as Mount Blanc, The Matterhorn and the Nanada Devi Sanctuary in the Himalayas. He was a member of the Surbiton & Kingston Mountaineering club and an inspiration to young climbers. He is described as someone who got on with people of all ages and gave everything a go with great enthusiasm.
Reg learnt to ski at the age of 52, he then climbed the 57 peaks over 2,500 feet in the Lake District in 10 days at the age of 68 to raise money for his Grand Children’s school Coombe Hill. Reg was not merely a man of the mountains, he also played an active role in the community. Being a part time youth worker for Kingsnympton Park Youth Club. His work hailed as tireless and turning around the lives of young people including helping to set up a summer scheme with the Metropolitan Police, running annual month-long programmes for the local children and teenagers.
Very sadly Reg died whilst walking with friends from the Mountaineering Club on Great Gable near Wasdale Head on Saturday 5th February 2005 at the age of 70. He fell 300ft while traversing a scree slope. He survived the fall but died in the arms of his friend and fellow climber Charles Leek., after a long hard effort to keep Reg alive. The Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team responded quickly but could not resuscitate him.
His wish was to die in the mountains doing something he was passionate about, but it was too soon for his family and friend who miss him deeply. The Mountaineering club and his family spread his ashes from the 57 peaks in the Lake District he had climbed 2 years before.