The Woodhead team in action

The Woodhead team in action

Rescuers are appealing to outdoors enthusiasts to go in the red to show their support for the volunteer team.

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team wants visitors to its celebration day to don the appropriate colour as the Yorkshire squad puts on a display of its skills as part of a national day to raise awareness of England and Wales’s rescuers.

The Yorkshire team, which covers the fells and moors south of Huddersfield and into the Peak District, will stage an event as part of the Mountain and Cave Rescue Awareness Day on the 2 May bank holiday Monday.

Teams across the country will be taking part in activities to show the public what they do. Last year, teams took part from Dartmoor to Cockermouth, Snowdonia to North Yorkshire, opening up their bases to visitors, abseiling down local beauty spots for funds and putting up displays at unusual locations.

The Woodhead team will hold its event at Cannon Hall Farm, Cawthorne, Barnsley.

There will be search and rescue dog demonstrations, an orienteering course, free map and compass training, a display of vehicles and kit, an observation test, video and photo displays, plus other activities for visitors to the event.

Barnsley Metropolitan Brass Band, will provide live music and the Penistone FM Roadshow will also be there. Organisers plan a visit from the South Yorkshire Police helicopter if operations and weather permit and the public will be able get a close-up view of the MD902 Explorer helicopter that patrols the skies.

Children’s activities and first-aid training will also be on offer and the public will have the chance to meet the team and talk to members about their work.

Team chairman John Howe said: “At a time when the current government is looking at donations to charities and talking about the ‘Big Society’; many people are still amazed that we do not get paid for our efforts. Indeed many think it is a full time job.

“While we may put as many hours into the team as we do to our jobs, we get no pay whatsoever.

“Every member of the rescue team, whether probationer, trainee, full team member or director bears a financial cost of being a member, from buying equipment, to putting the fuel in the cars to take them to training and to the real incidents.”

The team, along with most other volunteer MRTs, takes part in many non-mountain rescues was involved in a major rescue during the recent closure of the A57 in South Yorkshire due to heavy snow when its members helped evacuate more than 150 motorists, attended and recovered stuck vehicles including an ambulance and transported essential medications to vulnerable people.

It is estimated that this equated to something approaching 300 man hours of work to assist the local community as well as the statutory emergency services.

Mr Howe continued: “Operationally, with the current level of ‘savings’ needed to be made by the statutory emergency services I am sure we will see an even greater demand on our services.

“Please be assured we will be there to help when that pager sounds, no matter what time of day or night, no matter what the weather, we will answer that call willingly and to the best of our ability.”

The 40-strong team was established in 1964 and is based near Holmfirth, just north of the Peak District national park.

Celebrity walking broadcaster Julia Bradbury patron of the Search and Rescue Dog Association said: “I’ve been hillwalking for many years now and I’ve managed to avoid accidents but it’s comforting to know that, if things do go wrong, a local mountain rescue team is always ready to help.”

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