May 19 2006
At this year’s annual team dinner our Team Leader, Vernon Garry Rhodes (his full name!) was presented with a beautiful framed Certificate from Mountain Rescue England and Wales, a 25 years Long Service Award, in gatitude for many years of outstanding contribution to Mountain Rescue, signed by the Chairman and the Secretary of the Mountain Rescue Council of England and Wales. Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon presented Garry with the Certificate following a short introduction by Team Vice President Tony McNally.
Garry was especially happy to receive the award, given that his mother and father, and his partner Ann, were all present at the team dinner special presentation.
This Long Service Award is still very much a rarity in national Mountain Rescue circles, and Garry becomes only the fifth member in the Bolton MRT to ever receive this recognition of such long and dedicated service.
Garry, aged 48, a Chartered Landscape Architect by profession, first joined the team in 1974 through to 1975, then left for College, he rejoined in 1980 for a year and then rejoined for a third time, permanently on March 2nd 1983.
Over this time Garry has kept meticulous records of his involvement in Mountain Rescue, and has attended well over 850 plus incidents to date, including a very serious aircraft crash, walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and missing persons too numerous to mention, amongst a very wide variety of other incidents.
He has attended over 1,400 training exercises, from single evenings to full weekends, 17x Mountain Rescue Annual Conferences, 2x MR Medical Conferences, flown numerous times on operations and training in Wessex and Sea King SAR helicopters and Police and Helimed Helicopters.
He has attended the Regional Party Leader Course once as a trainee and 9 times as an Instructor, having also instructed on 18 Foudation Courses in Mountain Rescue, and taken part in two HMCG Cliff Rescue weekends, and attended numerous search management, incident management, aircraft post crash management and controllers courses over the years.
After rejoining the team in 1983, Garry quickly became an Equipment Officer on the Team’s Council, going on to become the Team’s Assistant Team Leader (Training) for 3 years, Deputy Team Leader for two years and then Team Leader in March 1989, a post he has held ever since.
Over his 25 years in MR, Garry has attended search and rescues mainly in the Bolton MRT team area and that of the MPSRO., however he has also attended incidents in places as diverse as Glencoe, Coniston, Ogwen, Kinder, The Yorkshire Dales, Helvellyn and North East Wales, amongst others.
He is a proud recepient of the prestigious Bolton Civic Medal and was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal for Emergency Services workers.
His experience of working on exercise with other teams includes, RAF MRT’s Stafford, Leeming and Valley, Kirkby Stephen, Langdale Ambleside, Penrith, Woodhead, NEWSART, Oldham and Ogwen Valley alongside considerable experience of multi team training amongst the MPSRO teams.
He still maintains an active interst in hillwalking, with a very long and varied summer and winter mountaineering background, which has also encompassed rock climbing, srambling, caving, mountain biking, cross country and downhill skiing. He has also taken part in two successful high mountain trips to the glaciated mountains of Mexico and Ecuador.
His interest in Mountain Rescue and his involvement in the Bolton MRT is as strong as ever, and by his own admission he still gets a big buzz out of being in the team, going on training exercises and attending callouts.
Having stated all the above Garry is always keen to point out to new members that he himself considers himself to be the new boy in the team whenever he is around current call out list members Deputy Leader Geoff Seddon (unbroken service since 1969!) and Team Vice President For Life, Alan James, with unbroken Bolton MRT membership since 1968 and service within Mountain Rescue which started in 1967!