Phil O'Brien with his 30-year-service certificate with the Bowland Pennine team

Phil O'Brien with his 30-year-service certificate with the Bowland Pennine team

A mountain rescue team leader has been appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Phil O’Brien has been a member of the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team since 1986 and took over as leader eight years ago.

The 54-year-old, originally from south Wales and who now lives in Preston, is keen walker and former climber.

He is leader of 42 volunteers in the team, which covers the Bowland fells and a large area stretching to the Cumbrian boundary, the Lancashire coast, and the west and south Pennines.

He received his award for services to the Bowland team.

He said: “I’m honoured but we are part of a team and you can’t do anything without the full team.”

He added the team has taken part in hundreds of rescues over the years and he has been on most of them.

“The ones I find most memorable are the searches for missing people rather than the dashes on to the hills to help crashed paragliders and such callouts.

“When you find the people, I find that particularly rewarding.”

Ian Hurst, president of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team was also appointed an MBE for services to mountain rescue in Derbyshire, and Keith Birkitt of the Buxton team gained a British Empire Medal for his voluntary service to the team.

Peter Drake was made an MBE for his services to young people. Mr Drake of Holmfirth in West Yorkshire was a founding member of the Young Explorers Trust.

He has led, or been a member, of 46 expeditions visiting 55 countries in five continents.

He drove overland from the UK to Nepal to climb in the Himalayas, has twice crossed the Sahara to the River Niger and has followed the Nile route south to East Africa.

Mr Drake has been a member of the British Mountaineering Council training committee, chairman of the expedition advisory centre at the Royal Geographical and vice-chairman of the Yorkshire Schools Exploring Society and the Young Explorers Trust and a member of the council of the Brathay Exploration Group.

Susan Blake received the British Empire Medal for services to rambling and to the community in Dorchester, Dorset.

Ms Blake is secretary and a leader for the Dorchester Strollers. She is also a leader for the South Dorset group of the Ramblers.

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