The Northumberland team is seeking new members

The Northumberland team is seeking new members

Rescuers with the largest patch of any team in England are recruiting new members.

Successful applicants will receive a year of training with the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team.

The team’s volunteers cover the whole Northumbria Police area, a total of 2,159 sq miles, including some of the remotest countryside in the North.

Calls for help include not only searches for, and rescues of, walkers, fell- and trailrunners, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the uplands of Northumberland but also the search and rescue of missing children and vulnerable adults in rural and urban settings.

The area extends from Sunderland in the South-East to Alston in the South-West, and to the Scottish border in the North. The team said it relies on the diversity of both its volunteers’ locations and working patterns to provide a reliable service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A spokesperson said: “As such the team is particularly interested in receiving applications from those living or working in Tyne valley notably Hexham area and Morpeth, Rothbury, Alnwick and Wooler areas.

“Those wanting to apply should be physically fit and confident in their own ability to navigate safely through mountainous environments while the weather is unfavourable.

“Prior winter walking or mountaineering experience would be advantageous although not essential. For practical reasons – cost and time spent training – the team is looking for individuals that are settled in the region and can demonstrate a long term commitment to mountain rescue.”

For insurance reasons, those applying should be aged between 18 and 70. “Beyond this, the team is keen for a diverse range of people to apply,” the spokesperson said.

Successful applicants will receive a year of training in search skills, radio communications, pre-hospital medical care, technical rescue skills, working with helicopters and winter skills before graduating to the callout list.

Once on the call out list, the team’s highly trained volunteers respond to emergencies at the request of the emergency services when the specialist skills of mountain rescue are required.

Anyone interested should email the team’s secretary for an application form, which should be completed and returned no later than the end of August. Interviews and an initial hill skills assessment will then follow.

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