Rescue Team celebrates official opening of its Centre

On Saturday 4th November North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team celebrated the opening of its new Rescue Centre in Okehampton.

David Stoneman Team Leader said ‘It was a fantastic day, we had over 100 people visit our new centre; there were invited sponsors and donors, past members, families, friends and members from other search and rescue teams. There was a really good atmosphere, children particularly enjoyed our rescue boat, young and old tried their skills at resuscitation and there was real intrigue and interest in the technology we use to manage searches.’

The centre was officially opened by Les Agar, one of the team’s longest serving members who now spends many hours fund raising, in the last year alone he has raised over £6k. That’s nearly a third of the team’s annual running costs.

David continued: ‘It’s been a long journey to reach today. We started talking about finding new premises in 2009 and after a lengthy search and some hard fundraising managed to buy the building in 2013 for £100,000. We’ve since had a further 4 years of fundraising, project planning and construction to create this tailor made rescue centre. It’s cost just under £100,000 to create; we’ve built washing, drying and storage rooms, installed a mezzanine floor and created a training room with kitchen facilities. It’s already making a real difference to our operation. Our response times to call outs are much faster because the vehicles are already loaded, ready to go; we can also access the main roads much faster. The washing facilities and drying room mean we are better able to clean and dry equipment and have it packed up ready for the next emergency. The spacious and bright training room is also a great asset; we train every week and whilst we are often on the moors we do need indoor facilities for more traditional teaching sessions and taking some of the casualty care exams.

'It’s been a huge project, a bit daunting at times, and it’s only been possible because of the time and efforts of many volunteers, both team members and others, and the support and generosity of our donors and sponsors, to whom I’d like to say a big thank you from all the team.’