Team secretary Siân Campion cuts a cake with team chair and longest serving member Dave Williams, who joined in 1974

Team secretary Siân Campion cuts a cake with team chair and longest serving member Dave Williams, who joined in 1974

A team of rescuers that can trace its roots back to the 1960s has celebrated its official 50th birthday.

Members of the Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team gathered recently to mark the anniversary of the organisation.

A team spokesperson said: “Originally bearing the somewhat unwieldy name of Outward Bound Sea School, Aberdyfi, Search and Rescue Team, the rescue organisation was officially convened in September 1973, though had been operating in this capacity since the mid-1960s at least.”

The links with the Outward Bound school, which remain to this day albeit in a different form, were key to the functioning of the new team, and its initial ‘volunteers’ were the instructors and staff of the school. “With staff living on site, a 24-hour warden service on duty, and equipment and vehicles readily available the system worked well from the onset,” the spokesperson said.

Rescues were co-ordinated from the school, and instructors from other outdoor education sites could be brought in as required.

With changing practices within Outward Bound, the team shifted its focus and started to include true volunteers from both within and outside of the school, and over the years morphed into a fully independent organisation with its own processes, equipment and vehicles.

The name shifted to Outward Bound Wales Search and Rescue Team before settling in 2012 on Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team.

Team member Graham O’Hanlon said: “In particular, the last 10 years or so seem to have witnessed the greatest changes for the team”, while conceding that that may be because he was around to witness them.

“Processes such as the callout system, which had been in place for perhaps 30 years, were revolutionised by the advent of wider mobile phone and internet availability. The need for extensive searches has also been much reduced by a range of smartphone processes to help locate missing people.

“It is interesting to ponder what the next 10 years will bring.”

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