TWO hundred people attended a combined welcome home party and fundraising dinner, last night, for paralysed Grasmere man Will Clark.

The event, held at the village's Daffodil Hotel, is understood to have raised around £15,000 for the Will Clark Fund, which was set up earlier this year to provide long term support for Will, who was left disabled by a cycling accident.

Around £10,000 of the total was raised by an auction of promises, exceeding organisers' expectations.

Will, who has spent the last five months in the regional spinal unit at Middlesbrough, told The Westmorland Gazette that it was 'great to be home' and he was looking forward to visiting his friends around the area over the festive period.

Speaking to the guests, the fellrunner, skier and outdoor enthusiast said he was glad to have the memories from an adventurous life, which had taken him around the world.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who also spoke at the event, said: "It was as much a welcome home for Will as it was a fundraising event. While moving in parts, it was also a real party atmosphere.

"When I left at around midnight and Will was still there enjoying himself with his friends."

The event was movingly addressed by Will's mother Angela Clark who has spent most of her time at the Middlesbrough unit while her son was receiving treatment there.

The Westmorland Gazette's Wheels for Will campaign, running alongside the Will Clark Fund, has so far raised around £12,000 towards the cost of a special all-terrain quad which, which its helmet controls, will enable Will to regain the freedom of the fells.