The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team was formed in 1965 by volunteer wardens of the National Park. This was in response to two shepherds tragically perishing in a blizzard on 17 November 1962 in the Cheviot Hills. For the first few years the team responded to around five incidents a year which has steady increased over time.
Now, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) provides a search and rescue service in the Northumbria Police area. The operational area covers 2,159 square miles and includes the whole of Northumberland and the conurbation of Tyne & Wear. Mountain rescue team members are on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Usually, the volunteers respond to around 35 incidents per year. This, our 50th year, has been one of the busiest to date with 30 incidents.
The type of incidents the volunteers respond to can be very different; from a climber having fallen from a crag requiring the Team’s specialist technical rescue equipment to a three to four day search for a dementia patient having gone missing from their home. This year with the demise of RAF Boulmer, the nature of the Team’s incidents is changing. We are experiencing many more ‘rescue’ incidents which previously would have been dealt with by the Search & Rescue helicopter.
All members are volunteers and have a shared interest in providing a vital life-saving service. Members continuously train in all the core skill areas (hill craft and navigation, search, communications, first aid and casualty care, technical rescue, etc.) and are equipped to enable them to operate effectively in all types of terrain and in all seasons.
NNPMRT is solely reliant on voluntary donations and grants from charitable trusts. The team’s typical operating cost of £20k per year is paid for through mainly charitable donations from the general public and an invaluable grant from the Northumberland National Park Authority. On top of this, high cost items of equipment such as our two Landrover Ambulances (£50k and £70k respectively) must be replaced periodically. In the Team’s 50th year, we hope to raise £50k – this will fund a desperately needed new digital radio system to replace our ageing analogue system, the fitting out of a replacement command and control trailer, and the purchase of specialist water rescue related personal protective equipment.
As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations and fundraising efforts, the Team is organising a black-tie fundraising Ball at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle on 23 October 2015. At the Ball a number of outdoor related products, donated by local companies will be auctioned and raffled off to the members of the public present. To celebrate with the Team and be in with a chance of walking home with one of these donated products, members of the public can buy tickets to the Ball via the event link on the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NNPMRT.
The Team’s annual challenge event, The Cheviots Challenge, provides participants with a great day out in Northumberland and helps to raise funds for the Team. If anyone is interested in participating in the event, further details are available at http://nnpmrt.org/news-events/cheviots-challenge-2015/
Donations from the general public to the Team can also be made via our Just Giving page, www.justgiving.com/nnpmrt.
We are also keen to raise awareness of Mountain Rescue and the invaluable service we provide, and
would appreciate any help in increasing the number of ‘likes’ on our Facebook page and ‘followers’ on our Twitter page (@NNPMRT).