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West Mercia Search and Rescue Team saving lives in their spare time - with video

By Jonny Drury | Church Stretton | News | Published:

They don’t get paid, they have to find their own funding and they give up their own time to save other people’s lives.

West Mercia Search & Rescue on a training exercise on the Long Mynd

About 40 fully trained volunteers operate in the West Mercia Search and Rescue Team and their task is to save the lives of those who get into difficulty, are in vulnerable situations and are at high risk.

They do all this on top of day jobs as fireman and serving in the armed forces. They are real life heroes.

Now the first all-in-one training day has been held at the Long Mynd in Church Stretton, with 30 volunteers taking on various tasks that they would encounter on a typical call-out in the region. The surroundings make the perfect setting for a team that dedicates time to saving the lives of others.

Watch the team in action:

West Mercia Search and Rescue Team on excercise

Paul Tyrer has taken over as the training lead and set the day up in a bid to increase the skills of the volunteers for the service.

He revealed it cost £40,000 annually to run the service, which included rent of the main hub, insurance and keeping vehicles on the road.

The Long Mynd provides a back drop for a weekend exercise

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It comes from fundraising and grants, but he said it was all worth it when it came to saving the lives of others.

“We’ve got such a range of people involved which is great, and we are having more come forward all the time,” he added. “We had 12 come forward and apply recently.

“It is such a vital service, and days like today help to improve the skills and are key to what we do. It was foggy earlier in the day, which would have been better as it would have offered an even more testing scenario for the teams that go out.”

Find out more about West Mercia Search and Rescue Team:

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Teams of five are sent off over the Long Mynd on a 10k trek, picking up clues for where they have to go, and then dealing with scenarios they have to encounter.

One of the first they do is at a reservoir, where they are briefed about what has happened.

An instructor tells them a despondent male has been missing for two weeks, and that is all they are told.

After just seconds of being set off the team locate the male, secure the area and the medic in the team approaches the person with caution, as they sit against a tree with a knife laying next to them.

The medic approaches and discovers that life is extinct.

A team member comes across a 'body' by a tree

The team pack up and are given a debrief on what they did correct and what they need to do better.

As many of the team members explain, this was a real life scenario and these things to happen every single day.

Andy Evrard, from Bridgnorth, was the second in command on the operation.

He said: “These days are vital because they keep our skills high for when the scenario does come about in real life.”

Taking a 'casualty' off the mountain

The teams go out throughout the day over the Long Mynd, taking away skills that will hopefully aid them if someone does go missing in real life. Operations take place across the county, including Bridgnorth and Clee Hill some of the tough terrain areas good for training.

The service they provide is vital, but it comes at a cost and the struggle is real.

Paul added: “It is around £40,000 to keep everything going which is hard and we have to do it through grants and fundraising.

Tackling the rough terrain on the Long Mynd

“The police commissioner has given us grants for rents for the next few years, but the costs of insurances and keeping vehicles on the road is what we need.”

Fundraising buckets at a table below the mountains states: “Everyday heroes, every day.”

That is certainly true.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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