The team urgently needs to replace its ageing control vehicle

The team urgently needs to replace its ageing control vehicle

A rescue team has issued an urgent appeal to help keep it running.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton volunteers need to replace their ageing control vehicle which is vital in their operations.

Its existing vehicle scraped through its last MoT test, but a major rust problem with the van means the team has no option but to find a new one and get it kitted out with specialist radio and computer equipment in time for the autumn.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team fundraiser Alan Pewsey said: “Without the vehicle, the ability to respond to the 35 or so shouts they get each year will be severely hampered.

“The team’s vehicle officer Andy Luscombe said we either needed help raising the £15,000 that a suitable van was likely to cost or for a generous benefactor to come forward and donate one.”

Mr Luscombe said: “The vehicle we have is a long-wheelbase high-top variety and we’re looking to replace with something similar; a Mercedes Sprinter is the most likely candidate.

“If possible a 4×2, four wheels on the rear axle and two front, as this gives much more stability when on the road with the vehicle close to its weight limit.

“It’s a self-contained control centre with two computers, radio and telephone communications. The computers aid our searches by being able to pick up GPS radios and therefore tracking teams. They are also programmed with a host of invaluable search and rescue software.

“The van will have a separate kit store for individual team bags together with emergency medical equipment including a wheeled stretcher.

“The team can only be called out by the police or ambulance service and we help with everything from missing dementia patients to people wishing to harm themselves as well as missing walkers, climbing and kayaking accidents and flooding.

“Members are trained for all eventualities and operate across Devon and beyond when required.

“The cost of a new control vehicle including fitting it out with our specialist equipment is likely to be around £20,000 so we, and the many people we help each year, would be very grateful for any help people can offer.”

Anyone able to help is asked to contact the team by email. Donations can also be made to the appeal through the team’s Virgin Money Giving site.

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