Each year Mountain Rescue England and Wales works with the Princes’ Charities Forum to enable sick or disadvantaged young people and their families to take part in a fun-filled day of outdoor activities.
The Forum comprises the charities who share the patronage of Prince William, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William has been the Mountain Rescue patron since 2007.
Now in its 10th year this time was the turn of North Yorkshire teams with us as hosts along with the Cave Rescue Organisation from Clapham and the Scarborough and Ryedale team.
The venues were in Nidderdale with some 36 young people from the Centrepoint, Child Bereavement, Place2be and Wellchild charities along with some of their carers and family members.
The chosen Mountain Rescue teams decide on the venues and the programme and run the event in their own patch.
Sara Spillett, our lead member for the event, said: “During our planning and dealings with the four charities we quickly realised that the lives of some of these young people would so often be dominated by hospital visits and have very limited if any opportunities to enjoy adventurers in the countryside. We set about producing a day they would all remember and especially with us giving it a real Mountain Rescue call out theme.”
We decided on Nidderdale and using How Stean Gorge and Bewerley Park Outdoor Education and Activities Centres.
A huge bonus came our way at How Stean Gorge when retired UWFRA member Stan Beer and his wife Anne, the owners, not only gave us the centre its facilities and instructors free but included free meals as well. Transport between the two centres was provided free by the Upper Wharfedale Venturer and the Wharfedale Packhorse buses and we even had a team member David Nelson our admin officer driving one of the buses as a volunteer driver.
The day was set up as a Mountain Rescue search and rescue operation with many tasks and problems along the way which needed dealing with before they could move on to the next phase. The final stage and success was rewarded with hot chocolate and other treats that they had to heat on a portable stove to finish off the exercise.
Some of the older ones had tasks involved in canoeing which included working with the Swift Water specialists in the teams. Emergency vehicles from the Fire Service and Police added to the adventure.
Sara added: “It was an amazing day and a huge learning opportunity for us all to work with these remarkable young people who put so much effort and enthusiasm into what was such a special day for them.
“We live very privileged lives compared to the people who attended and it was such a wonderful day for us as well seeing the enjoyment they got from the experience
“We would all readily volunteer for when our turn comes round again.”