Penny Kirby


Panel Discussion: The Sustainability of Mountain Rescue:

One of four leaders of Wasdale MRT — the busiest team in the Lake District — Penny has been involved with mountain rescue for over 40 years. She began training and working with search dogs soon after joining the team, one of her first jobs — with her debut dog Ben — to locate victims in the aftermath of the Lockerbie disaster. Since then, she has responded to hundreds of call-outs and trained many fellow volunteers, including search dogs Mif, Pippi, Ollie and her fifth dog Jess, now eight years old. She is also an assessor for Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.

In October 2023, coinciding with Mountain Rescue Awareness Day, Penny received the Points of Light Award which daily recognises outstanding individuals who are making a change in their community. She was also awarded the MBE for services to mountain rescue, in the 2024 New Year Honours List.

‘When I joined, we had about twelve call-outs per year. By November 2023 we were already at 160 — our busiest year ever — we think largely due to the fact that we have Scafell Pike in our patch. It remains to be seen if this is temporary or continues to rise.’

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