November Recruitment Intake, “What an excellent evening.”

This evening we held the first of our two part recruitment sessions for our November 2010 potential trainee members intake.

We reopened our online request for new members on 12th September 2010, with seven articles appearing in the daily Bolton News and other articles in weekly circulation local newspapers, all asking for volunteers to join us.

In total 44 people, aged from 18 through to 63, from a very varied range of occupations, applied either online, by email, by post or by telephone, to express an interest to join the team. Of the forty four, 21 confirmed they would be attending this evening and on Sunday’s full day session.

As it turned out, this evening seventeen people from the original forty four turned up at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ to find out a bit more (Webmaster ; well actually a lot more !) about us, being initially welcomed by our Team Leader, Garry Rhodes MBE and Life Vice President Tony McNally. (Standing in for our Chairman Ken Oakes)

Following an introduction to Mountain Rescue DVD, professionally produced for the bi-annual Mountain Rescue conference this year, the potential members then completed a short written test of their map reading skills. (This ’test’ was first tried out on some local 14 year old Scouts, and every membership intake we have, guess who still scores the most ! which says a lot for the map reading skills of our local Scouts, winners every time !) A quick written assessment was also made of everybodies mountaineering background, in advance of their detailed and very comprehensive Full Membership Application forms being submitted this coming Sunday morning.

The next part of the evening was a “Death by Powerpoint” presentation covering the history of Mountain Rescue, Bolton Mountain Rescue and the types and examples of rescues the team have undertaken. Our team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE presented this to a very attentive audience, despite behind their backs, but in full view of Garry, his colleague Team Members having put up a sign stating; “They are all asleep Garry!”

The potential members then demonstrated they had suitable kit for the conditions we have to operate in at times, including our team members checking over their summer and winter boot wear and waterproofs.

Next was turn the of ’ordinary’ team members to give accounts of what it is like to be part of the team, juggling team commitments with work and family and other interests, including an account of his first 10 months in the team from Trainee Member Martin Banks. Gillian Leigh gave an account of her return to the team since leaving in the 1990’s, and striking the balance between her teaching job, being mother to two children and the team. Andy Kench then described the balance he strikes working shifts as an RSPCA Inspector, a member of the RSPCA National Flood Response Team and an RSPCA Rope Rescue Trained Officer, with two children and frequent trips to see family members in Germany. Last but not least was ’Team Joker,’ ’Never take things too seriously,’ Mark Parry who raised many laughs amongst those present with his comments on having fun in the team, not taking things too seriously except when you obviously have to, and getting away with calling our Team Leader ’Priscilla’ or ’Oi Gob!’ (Webmaster; In both instances don’t even ask!)

Following a quick snack break, (which hardly gives adequate description to the excellent full buffet provided by Team Catering Officer Chris Tennant and Team Support Group Member Iain “Pass me another ham roll” Clarkson) which allowed the potential new members to ask any other questions they hadn’t had an opportunity to be answered so far, the members had a run through what the training we undertake every Wednesday actually entails from our Training Officer Elaine Gilliland, including what to expect on Sundays outdoor training day.

Finally Garry reiterated the importance of commitment and the consideration that needed to be given to joining the team before the prospective new team members come to Sundays full day training exercise.

Every person present was issued with a very comprehensive current Information Folder on the team, listing its activities, training, background details, equipment, membership requirements and fund raising activities. They were also issued with two complimentary copies each of the latest issues of our National Mountain Rescue Magazine.

In total fifteen Team call Out list members supported this evening, and one Support Group member. Our Base / HQ opened to welcome our visitors at 18.00hrs, finally closing after a tidy up at 00.15hrs on Friday 5th November. (And all this after all the members present had been out training the previous evening in the heavy rain and wind, and out this afternoon on Incident 84 ! All good examples of the commitment and dedication you have to have to be a member of Bolton Mountain Rescue Team)

So now let’s see how many of the seventeen from tonight turn up for Sunday’s all day session of practical ’hands on’ exercises and a ’solo’ navigation and fitness test.

Finally the feedback we received from all present can simply be summed up as; “What an excellent evening.”