The Gearmate system is added to the Mitsubishi L200 donated by South Wales Police. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography

The Gearmate system is added to the Mitsubishi L200 donated by South Wales Police. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography

Help from the police and a specialist equipment company is helping to keep volunteer rescuers on the road after a devastating fire at their base last year.

South Wales Police has provided an off-road vehicle and Warwickshire-based Gearmate has donated a storage system for the vehicle for Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team.

The team’s Merthyr Tydfil headquarters were ravaged by fire in November, since when its members and supporters have been fundraising to try to raise £250,000 for renovation of the base and replacement of specialist vehicles and equipment.

Team leader Penny Brockman said: “We’ve had tremendous support from all sorts of people and organisations and we’ve made a lot of progress towards that huge target.

“It has also been wonderful to receive loans and donations of practical equipment so that we can get back to normal in terms of training and responses to callouts even more quickly than we ever thought possible.”

Police have given the team a Mitsubishi L200 vehicle. This has been given the familiar livery and blue lights of a mountain rescue vehicle and also has an added extra to make it even more useful. Gearmate of Alcester in Warwickshire heard about the fire and destruction and offered to fit a team vehicle with a donated full drawer storage system and this has now been fitted into the L200.

Central Beacons MRT member and deputy vehicle officer Paul Richards said: “These practical donations and loans are an amazing support.

Central Beacons vehicle officers Jon Goddard, left, and Paul Richards with Gearmate project manager Jennifer Bonson, second from left, and marketing executive Angela Oliveira. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography

Central Beacons vehicle officers Jon Goddard, left, and Paul Richards with Gearmate project manager Jennifer Bonson, second from left, and marketing executive Angela Oliveira. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography

“The Gearmate donation makes the L200 even more useful to us as there’s a lot of bulky equipment that needs to be stored and transported to incidents and then accessed as quickly as possible. This storage system will make that possible and, at a value of over £2,000, it’s good value but not something that we’d have been able to justify at present even though it should make a big difference.”

The team from Gearmate met Mr Richards and other team members at the temporary base at Merthyr Tydfil Fire and Rescue Station and the vehicle is now in full use on callouts across the Central Beacons area.

Nick Moberley, managing director of Gearmate, said: “Our main aim in making this donation was to provide the team with additional tools that will enhance the amazing work that they do.

“We’re all about allowing 4×4 owners to maximise the potential of their vehicles and this system should help Central Beacons to organise their equipment, improve the security of the vehicle and, ideally, even contribute to their response times due to improved accessibility.”

Ms Brockman said: “We’re very grateful for this support from Gearmate and from our partners at South Wales Police, and we’re already seeing the benefits of using this vehicle and being able to keep so much equipment safely and securely.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported our appeal in any way at all – we’re very grateful.”

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