DONATIONS have flooded in to a cave rescue organisation after a caving tragedy occurred at the weekend.

More than £10,300 was raised in nearly 24 hours towards Clapham Cave Rescue Organisation's annual running costs after news Bradley caver Harry Hesketh died after a fall while excavating Curtain Pot, on Fountains Fell, on Saturday afternoon.

Almost 100 volunteers from the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, Cumbria Mines Rescue, Clapham Cave Rescue Organisation as well as members from Bradford Pothole Club and the Yorkshire Spelio Society, battled for over 17 hours to get Mr Hesketh, 74, from the cave who had fallen six metres down a pitch and had a suspected broken femur.

Two caving friends who were with him alerted the emergency services.

A CRO spokesman said: "Unfortunately, due to the nature of his injuries, and the extended time needed to create a navigable way out (Mr Hesketh) succumbed to his injuries and died just prior to the extrication beginning.

"Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends. Our thoughts and deepest thanks are also with everyone who were involved."

Launching an appeal for donations, the CRO said: "This incident took in excess of 1,600 man hours, virtually every piece of caving equipment in our stores, and, a large quantity of medication and medical supplies, all provided by ourselves. It also involved us being able to feed and water almost 100 people into the early hours of this morning (Sunday).

"Due to the severity and urgency of the situation, a lot of equipment was sacrificed to expedite the potential extraction of the casualty. If you feel that you could assist the team in helping to replenish our stocks and equipment supplies, we would be deeply grateful for any donations to help us out."

Immediately donations poured in and within a day almost 550 people had answered the call with everyone offering their condolences and praising the efforts of the rescue teams. Others asked how they could get involved in volunteering and money-raising.

One respondent, Robert Malcolm Kay, paid his respects to Mrs Uchimura saying: "Caving is a great sport, but it also carries certain risks: we all know that. Just so sorry for you, but please know that the caving world never forgets a lost brother or sister. You will always be in our thoughts."

The Craven Herald will be printing more tributes to Mr Hesketh in Thursday's edition.