Police reward Bolton Mountain Rescue Team for their outstanding search effort

This evening we were joined by Chief Inspector Nick Phillips and (recently retired) Chief Superintendent Dave Ryder of Greater Manchester Police, who attended our evening meeting to present the team with a very special and prestigious award.

In August 2004 the team was involved in a two day search of the River Bollin in the Dunham Massey area of Greater Manchester for a missing 15 year old boy who had been swept away in the river whilst it was in spate.

Sadly the boy’s body was later recovered in the search by the Police Underwater Search Team.

The team was fully occupied over two days in an intense search of both the river’s surface using our kayak team, and the banking of the river in association with the GMFRS Rescue Boat, and GMP officers.

The first day of our search effort took place in atrocious weather conditions of very heavy rain with the hope that the boy could still be found alive.

As the intense police, fire and mountain rescue search continued, hopes of finding the boy alive faded.

As a result of our involvement, we were presented this evening with a GMP Chief Superintendent’s Commendation in the form of a Divisional Commander’s award plaque which states, “Divisional Commander’s Award to Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, in recognition of outstanding work in connection with their professionalism and dedication which resulted in finding the body of a young boy who had drowned.”

Chief Superintendent (Retired) Dave Ryder presents the award to Garry Rhodes. Chief Inspector Nick Phillips looks on.

Chief Inspector Nick Phillips is quoted in a press statement saying, “we are proud of the immense professionalism and dedication shown by the volunteers from the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team. The river was raging at a dangerously high level while carrying a strong undercurrent. Without their skills and support the whole search effort would have been severely hampered. It fills me with immense pleasure to officially thank them for their help and hard work.”

Garry Rhodes, our Team Leader said upon receipt of the award how proud the whole team were to receive such prestigious recognition of their time spent on this search which sadly had such a tragic outcome and our thoughts will always be with the parents and family of the young boy who drowned.

Now retired Chief Superintendent Dave Ryder also gave thanks to the team for their involvement in this search. Mr. Ryder was the Police Commander for the Trafford division involved in the search last August, and saw at first hand the unstinting efforts put in by all the Police, Fire, Mountain Rescue and members of the public in trying to locate the missing boy.

It is of note that a GMP Divisional Commander presents the Chief Superintendent’s Commendation to members of Police staff or the public for outstanding courage and bravery.

In recognition of the recipient’s actions (in this case ourselves), the Chief Superintendent awards a framed Certificate of Commendation as a permanent reminder of the appreciation and high regard in which the Police service holds the actions of the recipient.

Involved in this presentation night was an important member of the team we must not forget, Search Dog Chi, who gave an indication of a find during the search, which sadly was the location the Underwater Search Unit found the boy’s body underwater (On the second day of the search, Saturday 14th August, we were joined by Search Dog handler Helen Morton and her dog Linnhe from Rossendale & Pendle MRT, who joined Dave & Chi).

The award will now take pride of place in our Ladybridge Hall base.

Our attendance on the second day of the incident unfortunately meant that we had to cancel our attendance at the team’s annual Bolton town centre collection, a major fundraising event for us. In view of this, and understanding that we had given up our fundraiser to continue with the search for the boy (as after all, attendance at an incident will always take priority over fundraising commitments), Greater Manchester Police also presented the team with a cheque for £250 by way of recompensing us after missing our major fundraiser.

A BBC News Online article is available here which covers this story, which also has links to the previous BBC News Online articles relating to the incident.
Please also see the report on both Incident 63/2004 and Incident 64/2004 for the previously reported information on our involvement with this incident.