Present at the gathering: from left, Neal Ingram, Scarborough and Ryedale; Chief Constable Dave Jones; Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan; Heather Eastwood, CRO; Martin Renton, Upper Wharfedale; Tim Wood, Cleveland; and Alan Woodhead, Swaledale

Present at the gathering: from left, Neal Ingram, Scarborough and Ryedale; Chief Constable Dave Jones; Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan; Heather Eastwood, CRO; Martin Renton, Upper Wharfedale; Tim Wood, Cleveland; and Alan Woodhead, Swaledale

Five mountain rescue teams received a surprise cash gift at a gathering organised to thank them for their efforts.

North Yorkshire Police representatives handed £4,000 each to the five voluntary organisations that operate in the force’s area.

Members of the teams, the Cave Rescue Organisation, Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team, Scarborough and Ryedale MRT, Swaledale MRT and Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, attended a dinner at Leyburn to mark the volunteers’ contribution to their communities and visitors.

Police said the awards recognised the professional, dedicated and tireless assistance to the search effort in North Yorkshire and beyond.

Rescue team representatives were taken by surprise by the cash donations, from the North Yorkshire Police charity fund, with £1,000 as specific thanks for their support during the Tour de France events and £3,000 as a contribution to funds.

PC Jon Rushton, who is the rescue team’s main contact in the North Yorkshire force, organised the event.

Ian Hugill, a member of the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team, said: “The donation to each team was a surprise.

“We’ve held four of these dinners in the past and the thanks and recognition from the North Yorkshire Police have been much appreciated as well as all the support that we get from Jon Rushton.

“To receive a large donation for each team’s work as well will make a big practical difference. We’re all volunteers and the service we provide is reliant on donations and fundraising so £4,000 for doing what we all do is brilliant.”

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, who is president of the North East Search and Rescue Association, said: “I am extremely proud of my links with the association.

“The donation from the North Yorkshire Police Charity Fund, given to each of the teams, was in recognition of contribution made and time given by all of the volunteers who keep these vital organisations running. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their work.

“I know from personal experience just how much value the mountain rescue teams, Cave Rescue Organisation and fell rescue team bring when dealing with emergency situations. They do an incredibly valuable job, often turning out in hazardous conditions, putting themselves at risk to save the lives of others.”

North Yorkshire Lord Lieutenant Barry Dodd also presented five awards to individual members of the teams and said: “It makes me feel very humble to hear about the commitment and hours put in by rescue volunteers. It is hard not to be impressed when you hear about people with 20, 30 or more years of such service.”

Two former ‘clients’ of the rescuers also spoke at the gathering. Tom Kiernan spoke, with his friend, David Harper, about his rescue from a mine in Swaledale and Jane Way recounted her rescue by the Upper Wharfedale team after a fall that seriously damaged her arm and shoulder.

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