Assisting the emergency services when our assistance is required is the reason Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team (CVSRT) exists and 2020 was a busy year. There were 96 full team callouts in total, with our first of the year on New Year’s Day. 2020 also saw the busiest single day since CVSRT was formed with the team out on 4 separate incidents over a 12-hour period.
The global pandemic is something that has had a huge impact on all of us. As a team we had to adapt quickly and make significant changes to the way we operate to reduce the risk to ourselves and the casualties in our care. The additional PPE worn for each job made for some sweaty team members during the hotter parts of the year and increased our operational costs as we purchase this much needed equipment. These additional operational protocols are still in place today and form part of our regular activities.
As COVID-19 impacted the running costs of the team it also affected our ability to raise the much-needed funds to cover these costs. As a team we made the decision to cancel the majority of our regular fundraising activities the team would have been involved with during a normal year.
However, the local community was on hand to help, with many people donating online and purchasing one of our branded head scarfs and some fantastic folk doing even more to help raise funds for the team. Just a few of those special events included: our very own Paul Taylor unicycling the canal towpath system across the country from Runcorn to Goole; Will Carver who completed the Peak District 75KM Silver Challenge; Robert Batty who took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks; Tracy Cokill and Janet Whitaker amongst others who took part in the Mountain Rescue England and Wales MR’athon; Tinyhorses - Angus, PageBoy and Titan who completed the Tri-Nation Trotathon; All the fell runners who completed, virtually, the Horsforth Fellandale’s Danefield relay and the CraggRunner’s Stock’s Lane Stinger, and who could forget Amelia who had her long hair cut to support both CVSRT and the Little Princess Trust. Amelia’s last haircut, two years previous, also raised a fantastic amount of money for the team.
Training is an essential part of the team’s ability to ensure our ‘core skills’ remain high. Our ‘normal’ training ended in March, following a dark, wet and muddy stretcher exercise and the announcement of the first national lockdown.
In line with Government COVID19 guidelines, we changed to online training. These regular online sessions were excellently put together, with support by our friends within the NHS, and provided all of the information and knowledge to effectively substitute the training we have been used to in the past.
There is, however, some training that can only be completed in the field and when Government guidelines allowed, the team were able to complete appropriately adjusted sessions for some of these key skills. This included a training exercise with Yorkshire Air Ambulance and an intensive Water and Flood Rescue course.
Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England (MRSDE)
We have a really strong search dog team within CVSRT. These teams are not only ready to respond to every callout CVSRT receive, they also support other rescue teams which included supporting 7 separate calls over the year.
2020 also saw our search dog team go from strength to strength. At the beginning of the year, search dog Orion and handler Gary passed their assessment to become a fully qualified operational search dog team - a great result following 3 years training to reach that goal. Later in the year we welcomed 2 new and very cute additions, search dogs Spot and Cooper along with handlers Simon and Nic (Spot and Cooper are the cute ones!), who started their 3-year training journey with the team.
As a recognition to the commitment many of our members continue to give to the CVSRT, we were honoured this year to be able to present long service awards to 18 of our operational members. The years of individual service range from 10 to 45 years representing a combined total of over 340 years of service to the team.
Supporters, families and friends
The team receives a huge amount of help from the local community, with companies offering their support, products and services to help keep the team operational. Just a few of the companies that have supported CVSRT this year include - Totally Screwed Hardware, Cooper King Distillery, DD Products, Moderna MOT’s LTD, Mountain Wild, Jacks Barbers Shop, Craggies Farm Shop, Blazing Saddles Cycles, Drink?, Score (Europe) Limited and Tristel.
And finally, to all of our regular supporters, friends and family who put in so much hard work and make numerous sacrifices, all behind the scenes, without which the team would not be ready and able to respond when called upon.
Thank you to everyone with our best wishes for a happy and safe 2021!