Alan Pewsey, right, and DSRT Ashburton members say thank you as they reach their target

Alan Pewsey, right, and DSRT Ashburton members say thank you as they reach their target

A team of rescuers said it is overwhelmed by the generous response to its appeal for cash for a new vehicle.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton hoped to raise £20,000 to help buy a replacement control van, but its fund has topped £34,000.

It means the volunteer rescuers will be able to buy and fit out an essential vehicle to replace one that only scraped through its last MoT test.

The team’s delighted fundraising officer Alan Pewsey said: “We simply cannot believe how generous people have been and how quickly they’ve responded to our appeal.

“In the first place we’re so grateful to the press who publicised our appeal as widely as they did because thanks to them the calls soon started coming in.

“More than £1,000 was pledged very quickly and then one lady in south Devon contacted us and incredibly offered to donate £20,000 in memory of her late husband.

“We were only just starting to get over the shock of that when the Newton Abbot Hospital League of Friends said they’d like to pledge a further £10,000. We simply couldn’t believe it.

The team urgently needed to replace its old vehicle

The team urgently needed to replace its old vehicle

“With £34,000 in the fund we can not only get the van but equip it too with all the communications, medical and survival kit needed when searching for lost or vulnerable people.

“We respond to about 35 shouts a year on average, anytime and anywhere we’re needed, not just on Dartmoor but across Devon including urban areas such as Torbay and Exeter, and our entire operation is funded by the public’s generosity.”

Mr Pewsey said it costs about £15,000 to keep the team going each year and all support is gratefully received.

He said: “But the response to this appeal has been unparalleled and we offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped.

“Even Toby at Pottery Commercials in Newton Abbot has been very generous to us in finding a virtually brand new van at a huge discount and fitting extras free of charge.

“We can’t wait to show off it off as soon as it’s on the road and ready for action.

“Again, thank you so very much. Sadly our work never ends but then neither do the bills stop coming in.”

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