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5 July, 2016

Volunteer search and rescue heroes honoured at awards ceremony

Search and rescue volunteers who provide vital support to North Yorkshire Police have been recognised for their life-saving work and their support during the recent York floods.

Five teams who are called upon regularly to provide invaluable assistance during searches for missing people, rescue injured people or guide people to safety, were each given a donation of £3,000 from Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, and were presented with certificates at an awards ceremony held at Tennants in Leyburn on Friday 1 July 2016.

The teams – who are all made up of volunteers and rely on charitable donations – were also presented with an award from Steve Waddington, the Assistant Director of Housing and Public Protection at the City of York Council, in recognition of the immense support and assistance they provided during the flooding in York last winter.

North Yorkshire Police’s Acting Deputy Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, and Chief Officer for Citizens in Policing, Mike Maiden, attended the event along with special guests, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Barry Dodd CBE, and Neil and Becky Robinson.

Neil was rescued by Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team when he was knocked unconscious after falling from his mountain bike in Dalby Forest.

The teams receiving awards were:

  • The Cave Rescue Organisation based in Clapham
  • Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team
  • Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team
  • Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team
  • The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire said: “The search and rescue teams are made up of remarkable people with specialist skills and expertise who give up their time voluntarily to support the emergency services in all sorts of challenging circumstances.

“Here in North Yorkshire they are called upon regularly and make a fantastic contribution.  That’s why I am so pleased to be able to pay tribute to them as well as to make a financial contribution towards the cost of running their services.”

A/DCC Kennedy added: “Search and Rescue teams provide an invaluable service to North Yorkshire Police. We call on them regularly during all kinds of incidents, from searches for missing people to situations where their specialist skills, knowledge and equipment provide a life-line to those who are lost, stranded or injured.

“They are called at all hours of the day and night and work in physically and mentally demanding situations – and they do all of this on a voluntary basis. We cannot thank them enough for the sacrifice they make and the support they provide.”

Alan Hinkes added: “Mountain and cave search and rescue teams are the fourth emergency service, true unsung heroes. Team members are volunteers who often put themselves at risk to help others. They operate in a variety of scenarios and situations other than mountains or caves, such as flooding. It’s great to see their effort and dedication recognised and appreciated by fellow professionals and the public.”

On 29 October 2015, Neil Robinson was rescued by Scarborough Mountain Rescue Team who led a three-hour operation to recover him from Dalby Forest after he fell off his mountain bike and was knocked unconscious.

Due to the difficult terrain and poor weather conditions, the preferred airlift direct from the forest could not take place. The mountain rescue team coordinated a complicated rescue from the forest to nearby Ebberston from where a helicopter flew Neil to Hull Royal Infirmary where he was treated for head injuries and two broken arms.

After eight months, Neil is on the way to recovery and attended the awards with his wife Becky – who is fund-raising for the team – to pay tribute to the volunteers that helped him. He said: “I can’t thank the teams enough for the fantastic service they provide, not just to us cyclists and walkers, but the whole extended community – as they’ve shown recently during the savage floods.”