Sealing the deal at Marsden Fire Station, from left: Assistant District Commander Lee Benson, Gillian Howarth and  Phillip Pogson of the rescue team, District Commander Chris Kirby, Tony Burrie of the Holme Valley team and Councillorr Judith Hughes

Sealing the deal at Marsden Fire Station, from left: Assistant District Commander Lee Benson, Gillian Howarth and Phillip Pogson of the rescue team, District Commander Chris Kirby, Tony Burrie of the Holme Valley team and Councillor Judith Hughes

A group of mountain rescue volunteers are buying the fire station in which they are based.

Holme Valley Mountain Team faced being homeless after Marsden Fire Station in West Yorkshire was closed following Government cuts.

But the team has negotiated the purchase of the building, which ceased fire-service operations at the end of April.

The fire station had been the team’s base, with its two rescue vehicles and equipment kept in garages at the site. It was given notice to terminate its lease by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

Now, the former firefighters’ base will be the Holme Valley MRT headquarters.

Team spokesman Owen Phillips said: “After a long struggle it seems like we are finally securing a permanent base for the team.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority has given us to purchase the building, giving us security for the future and the ability to continue helping them and the other emergency services for years to come.

“We also hope that the people of Marsden will be reassured that the building will still be used as a base for rescue services, and will remain a valuable community asset.

“We know they have fought hard to support their local fire station and I believe the fire authority has considered this and strived to achieve an outcome that offers a benefit to the community, as well as supporting us as a charitable organisation.

“However, we’re not home and dry yet; over the next two years the team must raise considerable funds to complete the purchase and once again we must appeal to the public for their support to help us achieve this goal.

“We would urge the public to remember that the role of mountain rescue is much broader than just helping those who get into difficulty in upland areas.

“We are frequently called upon to search for missing people and to help extract casualties from difficult situations in all environments, not just on the moors and crags.

“The winter weather also adds to our duties every year. During bad conditions the ambulance service can sometimes struggle to get through to routine calls with the equipment they have. On those occasions, we are here to help.

“We also consider prevention to be better than cure and as such take our educational role very seriously. Informing the public how to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors hopefully reduces the number of incidents we may be called out to.

“If the public didn’t donate, we wouldn’t be here and we are especially grateful for all the support we have had so far in our headquarters appeal.

“Now the end is in sight and we hope the local community can help us raise the remaining funds to complete the purchase.”

Councillor Judith Hughes, vice-chair of the fire authority said: “I am delighted to be able to support the HVMRT in establishing the services they provide on a permanent basis at Marsden Fire Station.

“West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and HVMRT have demonstrated that one public safety organisation has the ability to assist and support another to the benefit of the whole community.

“We look forward to supporting the fundraising activities of HVMRT over the next two years.”

Holme Valley MRT was formed in 1965 and covers the southern half of West Yorkshire, with terrain ranging from rugged open moorland to built-up urban areas including Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, Wakefield and Castleford.

Oysterband will play the gig to raise cash for the appeal

Oysterband will play the gig to raise cash for the appeal

Top folk rockers Oysterband will play a benefit gig for the team in November.

Cash from the concert at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth will go towards the appeal to buy the fire station.

Frontman John Jones was born in Wales, but grew up in Meltham – making him a ‘local lad to the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team.

He said: “This is a chance to play a great venue, close to my home and make money to help the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team fund their new headquarters – a cause close to my heart.

“It’s a great cause and a great venue.”

The band formed in the late 1970s as the Oyster Ceilidh Band, and rapidly gathered a strong following in the folk scene, releasing a string of successful albums.

Over the subsequent 30 years they have toured across 35 countries, released 12 studio albums and have scooped accolades such as Roots Album of the Year 2011, and Mojo 2011 Folk Album of the Year as well as being five-times winners of BBC Radio 2′s Folk Awards.

Tickets for the 29 November gig cost £15 and are available via the Picturedrome website,  by emailing the team or by phoning Holmfirth Tourist Information 01484 222 444

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