Team takes delivery of three brand new purpose built Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles

This morning our Team President (and former Team Leader) Bob Hutchinson, Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Training Officer Elaine Gilliland, Equipment Officer – Vehicles Chris Greenhalgh, long time team member Neil Aspinall and Trainee team member John Dickinson, journeyed to the South Lakes to accept and take delivery of our three brand new purpose built Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles from Crake International, Crake works, Greenodd, Cumbria. (The specialist vehicle section of Lakeland Land Rover of Torver, Coniston, Cumbria)
Crake International are an acknowledged expert at the specialist work involved in outfitting Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, with many MRTs in the Lake District and elsewhere having benefitted from their expertise, alongside other MRTs such as Swaledale, Cave Rescue Organisation and Oldham MRT.

We first placed our order with Lakeland Land Rover / Crake International on 23rd June 2010, and since this time we have featured regular update reports on the progress of our new vehicles on our website.

The purchase of these three vehicles to replace three current Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances purchased new by the team in September 1999, is the result of considerable fund raising by the team, with their overall purchase costs substantially underpinned by a single substantial donation of £40,000.00 from the East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund (ELMBF) which is the Masonic Charity of the East Lancashire Mark Freemasons, representing some 96 Lodges. (The ELMBF also made £40,000.00 donations to our colleague teams at Oldham MRT and Rossendale and Pendle MRT, to similarly purchase new vehicles)

All three of our new vehicles are exactly the same, based upon the Land Rover 110 TD Defender model, with a 2402cc engine, all first registered on 1st December 2010.

All three vehicles have been substantially specially modified and equipped for mountain rescue operations, and their final cost to the team has been £45,817.38p each. (An overall purchase cost to the team of £137,452.14p, the largest single monetary outlay the team has ever made)

  • ’Bolton Mobile 1’ PX60EAC, is named ’Tony McNally II’ and was accepted with 13 miles ’on the clock.’
  • ’Bolton Mobile 2’ PX60EAA, is named ’the Mark Mason’ and was accepted with 24 miles ’on the clock.’

  • ’Bolton Mobile 3’ PX60EAE is named ’Miss Ellen Sykes ’Nellie’ ’ and was accepted with 39 miles ’on the clock.’

In acknowledgement of the substantial donation made by the East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund that underpinned the purchase of these vehicles, all three also carry the wording ’Sponsored by the East Lancashire Mark Masons’ on each side of their bonnet lines.

Present for the handover at Crake International was Colin Todd, Special Vehicles General Manager, Richard Grandison, Service Manager, and Kevin Glessal, Workshop Foreman, all of whom have taken on board our ideas, listened to our questions, proffered considerable advice, shared their fantastic expertise and in Colin’s particular case put up with our frequent specification additions. (Yes we ended up eventually adding everything!)

Colin, Richard and Kevin all gave those present a very thorough briefing on how ’everything works,’ and then it was time for the ’handover pictures,’ followed by Colin, Richard and Kevin waving off the three Land Rovers that have occupied much of their time over the last few months.

Chris Greenhalgh, Bob Hutchinson and Neil Aspinall had the honour of driving away in the new vehicles, whilst Garry pondered in the front passenger seat of ’BM1’ whether he’d ever fully understand what all the new switches and equipment actually does ! Elaine meanwhile with John as her passenger had to make do with leading the way in our ’BM5’ minibus. (Elaine and Garry got their chance to have a drive with a driver changeover at Forton Services, which incidentally drew interest from members of the public who came over to ask about the new vehicles)

All three new vehicles went into temporary secure overnight storage, with tomorrow, Wednesday 20th April, being the big day when kit gets transferred from our existing BM1 / BM2 / BM3 vehicles across into our new vehicles, which will include a complete review of all the search and rescue equipment on all of our vehicles that will be in service from tomorrow onwards. (ie the new BM1 / BM2 / BM3, our existing retained ’03’ model Land Rover 110 Mountain Rescue Ambulance, BM5 our Ford Transit minibus and our existing BM3 Land Rover Incident Support Unit vehicle, which is being retained in temporary team service as BM6 until it is sold)

Two team leaders with the new vehicles – Garry Rhodes MBE (L), current Team Leader, and Bob Hutchinson (R), Team Leader 1981-3 (and also Team President)

On Thursday evening 21st April 2011, we bid farewell to our current BM1 and BM2 vehicles, which were purchased by the team in 1999 thanks to a major donation from the National Lottery, which totally funded their purchase at the time.

Both vehicles are off to start a new life in North Wales, and a new chapter in their mountain rescue operational life, having been purchased by North East Wales Search and Rescue Team. (Chris Greenhalgh our equipment Officer – Vehicles, has his hanky ready to wipe the tears from his eyes as his ’charges’ go to pastures new!

On the evening of Tuesday May 3rd 2011, the team is holding a Dedication and Blessing Ceremony at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ for the three new team vehicles, more details on this evening will appear on the website over the next few days. (This evening is totally open to all of our supporters and friends to attend, again keep watching the website for more details)

With these three new vehicles we believe we currently have the most up to date ’newest’ vehicle fleet in UK mountain rescue, a fleet of vehicles we can truely be proud of (alongside our other vehicles in team service) specially built for our purposes, with the ultimate beneficiaries of our new team vehicles being the community we serve in providing a voluntary search and rescue service, whenever and wherever such is required.

With regards to previous articles on our new team vehicles on our website please refer to ’news’ items dated 13th June 2010, 14th June 2010, 23rd June 2010, 24th November 2010 and 21st February 2011.

With regards to previous articles on our website regards the East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund, please refer to ’news’ items dated 6th February 2008, 24th august 2008, 20th August 2009, 30th August 2009, 2nd December 2009, 14th June 2010, 29th July 2010 and 29th August 2010.