Column: Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association
We had four call-outs last month. Sadly two of them were to be fatalities.
Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue team asked for our assistance in the search for a missing 64 year old man at Thornton Bridge in the Helperby area.
We sent 13 members and our two search and rescue dogs. The casualty was located but found to be deceased.
North Yorkshire Police asked for our assistance with a fatality in the Skipton area.
A walker with an ankle injury above Starbotton near Kettlewell was carried down to an awaiting road ambulance.
We were asked for assistance by the Swaledale rescue team to search for a walker on the Ripon Valley Walk near Sharrow, the casualty was located and airlifted by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to a road ambulance and taken to hospital.
Away from actual rescues our efforts are having to focus on expanding our headquarters.
It is a strange sort of irony when having the splendid title of England’s very first purpose-built mountain rescue headquarters we now find it is in fact no longer fit for purpose.
We have extended the building a few times but planning constraints have always limited our ability to really move with the times.
In the meantime, the responsibilities of mountain rescue teams have grown enormously and our priority to save lives is of course always paramount.
We therefore decided enough was enough and we would press ahead with an extension build even though we had only raised half of the £250,000 needed.
It took us many years to even get to this point.
Needless to say, major fundraising is now having to be a big part of our activities away from the actual call-outs.
We have applied for some funding support from the Landfill Communities Fund through Tarmac Ltd who through their parent company CRH own and run landfill sites in the Dales and to our delight we have just heard that they are to grant us a staggering £25,000 to the project.
The fund is a tax credit scheme enabling operators of landfill sites to contribute a portion of their landfill tax liability to local community and environmental organisations to try offset some of the impact of living amongst the company activities.
We understand that since its inception 20 years ago this Government initiative has funded some 53,000 projects across the country and with total grants being more than £1.4 billion.
As well as a significant amount to help us in our life-saving operations, the grant in effect doubles up in the local community as part of the conditions require recipients to allow local community groups to have some use of the facilities paid for by the grant.
In our case this will cover the new meeting and lecture room, the training facilities area as well as kitchen and toilet facilities.
We have yet to work out how this will work best amongst our call-outs but it’s a good scheme and we look forward to helping the local community groups in this way.