Galloway Mountain Rescue Team members with the new vehicle. Photo: Mike Kneeshaw

Galloway Mountain Rescue Team members with the new vehicle. Photo: Mike Kneeshaw

A Scottish mountain rescue team has a new ambulance, thanks to a generous £20,000 anonymous donation.

The gift was matched by St John Scotland, enabling the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team to buy and convert the 4×4 VW Transporter.

The vehicle will be housed at Castle Douglas Fire Station after the team reached an agreement with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

It was officially handed over to team leader Ken Mackenzie by Sir Malcolm Ross, Lord Lieutenant of Kirkcudbright, and Prior of St John Scotland, at a ceremony on Saturday.

Mr Mackenzie said: “This is a massive improvement on the vehicle it replaces.

“Technology has moved forward and we are fortunate to have the very latest fully equipped vehicle as part of our rescue fleet.

“In personnel-carrying mode it comfortably accommodates seven rescuers and all their
equipment, yet it converts into a stretcher carrying ambulance in less than 60 seconds.

“There are 14 personnel based in and around Castle Douglas. Previously, the rescue vehicle was based at Castle Douglas Police Station, and since the team are coordinated by Police Scotland, this was a sensible arrangement for which we were grateful.

Sir Malcolm Ross looks at the new vehicle. Photo: Mike Kneeshaw

Sir Malcolm Ross looks at the new vehicle. Photo: Mike Kneeshaw

“However, sitting outside, exposed to the elements, isn’t ideal and having this new vehicle
garaged from the outset was a priority to the team.

“We are so thankful to our anonymous donor, and of course the continued support from St John Scotland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service allowing us to garage the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team vehicle at Castle Douglas Fire Station, until we can arrange our own facility, means we have an opportunity to build upon an already positive relationship.”

Fire service area manager Alan Fairbairn said: “Protecting the public is at the heart of everything we do and this is another example of the great partnerships between emergency services benefiting our communities.

“When the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team asked if the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service could help house their brand new vehicle it was of course something we wanted to make happen.

“By locating this state-of-the-art rescue vehicle at Castle Douglas Fire Station until the team has a suitable garage, we can help ensure it’s in great condition to help people for years to come.

“Firefighters and our fellow emergency responders are used to working incredibly closely at incidents and in the proactive work done to help keep the area safe.

“I’m delighted the fire service can provide a much-need facility for our colleagues in the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.”

Sir Malcolm Ross said: “It is indeed a great pleasure to present my local mountain rescue team with the keys for this fantastic new vehicle.

“St John Scotland has now supported teams around the country with 13 new bases and as part of our mountain rescue support project and we are now replacing vehicles we originally purchased when the programme commenced back in 1998.

“St John Scotland provided £20,000 towards the cost of this vehicle and it is particularly
pleasing to see it being garaged in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“This is such a sensible and welcome arrangement, which will protect our investment,”

Within hours of the handover, the team had put the new vehicle to use, responding to a report of an unusual flashing light on the hillside above Gatehouse of Fleet.

The callout turned out to be a false alarm, the flashing light being traced to a warning light for an electric fence.

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