Incident 80/2010

At 16.03hrs this afternoon we were paged by Greater Manchester Police to respond and join in with a search for a missing farmer on the outskirts of Westhoughton, with concern for his wellbeing mounting due to his age.

The 83 years old missing farmer, resident at Brinsop Hall Farm, Brinsop Hall Lane, had gone missing from his farmhouse at some time since the previous evening, and after initial searches family members had raised their concerns early this afternoon with GMP, who sent Officers and their Air Support Unit to commence a search of the surrounding farmland.

By 16.12hrs a full team page had been sent, for our members to initially RVP at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ (Which is only a matter of minutes away from the farm concerned)

Meanwhile our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon and Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE went straight to Brinsop Hall Farm, where the Police had set up an RVP.

Arriving respectively at 16.40hrs and 16.58hrs, they liaised immediately with GMP Officers on scene, and also family members of the missing man, to ascertain more background on where he might have travelled.



Our Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader then planned and started to implement a search pattern.

Soon after other team members arrived on scene, including our SAR Boat and water search and rescue team, along with our Control and Catering resources.

With Police Officers concentrating on a search of the farm and immediate outbuildings, complimented by Bolton MRT members, the earlier decision to call out MR Search Dogs was extended to a call out for assistance to our colleagues in Bowland Pennine MRT.

Family members and neighbours of the missing 83 year old man also continued their search efforts in the surrounding fields and trackways.


At 18.00hrs we dispatched two members of our Water Team to search the margin of ponds in the surrounding farmland to Brinsop Hall Farm.

Sadly at 18.13hrs, at the first pond they had been tasked to search, they discovered the body of the missing elderly farmer in water, immediately adjacent to Brinsop House Farm, neighbouring Brinsop Hall Farm.

GMP Police Officers were dispatched to the scene as our two members who had located the man’s body secured the scene.

A small party including our Team Leader, Team Doctor and Team member Alistair Greenough, (A full time A&E Nurse) also went to the scene along with ’Cordon Tape,’ which was then used by Police Officers to cordon off the scene.

Bowland Pennine MRT were stood down responding and our other search parties were recalled from their search areas.

With darkness approaching and CID on scene, we were informed that we were not required to assist with the recovery of the man’s body and that the North West (Police) Underwater Search and Marine Unit were being called out to undertake this tasking.

The full condolences of the team are expressed to the family, neighbours and friends of the farmer involved in this search.

By 19.30hrs all our resources on scene had departed for our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ and member’s home locations.

The following resources are known to have been involved in this search operation which resulted in a tragic outcome.

  • Family, friends and neighbours of the missing man.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team: 23x Call Out list members including five members of our Water Team, and 2x Support Group members. (1x further Team Call Out list member was stood down responding)
  • Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team: Stood down responding.
  • One Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Dog Team, Handler Alison Nicholson and Search Dog Floss from SARDA (England) / Bowland Pennine MRT.
  • One Mountain Rescue Trail Dog Team, Handler Iain Nicholson and Trail Dog Mij from SARDA (Wales) / Bowland Pennine MRT.
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team: All five Team Vehicles, our Control Trailer (Full mapping facilities were provided by the team for this search), our Catering Trailer and our SAR Boat. (3.5m semi-rigid inflatable)
  • Greater Manchester Police: Local Divisional Officers, one Special Officer, a number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), two members of GMP Specialist Search Unit (one being a Missing Person Search Manager) a GMP General Purpose Dog Unit and a DCI and other members of GMP CID.
  • Greater Manchester Police Air Support Unit helicopter ’India 99.’
  • North West (Police) Underwater Search and Marine Unit.