Three Brand new Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance Vehicles brought into team service today

Our regular readers will recall that yesterday we collected three brand new Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, specially built for us by Crake International in South Cumbria.

Today commencing at 09.00hrs we had the enormous task of decommissioning two of our existing Land Rover MR Ambulances (Principally our BM1 “Tony,” and BM2 “General,” vehicles, originally purchased new by the team in September 1999, entirely due to a substantial National Lottery grant) and reassessing what search and rescue equipment we carry in all our vehicles.

Throughout the day, which for reasons explained below, lasted through to 01.15hrs in the early hours of Thursday morning 21st April 2011, some 33x Call Out list members, 2x Support Group members, Alison and Hannah Greenough (Wife and daughter of team member Alistair Greenough) and ex team member Andy Ryding, all converged on our Ladybridge hall Base / HQ to undertake this enormous commissioning task.

NWAS NHS trust who own our site, (It is their HQ) kindly restricted all their based staff from parking in the large courtyard fronting our Base / HQ, which we filled with our three newly purchased Land Rovers, our four existing Land Rovers, Minibus, Catering Trailer and Control Trailer. (Yes today and for tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll briefly own eight vehicles!)

Everything (and we mean everything) was taken off all our existing vehicles, and in a day long operation, items were selected for this vehicle and that vehicle.

Thankfully the sun shone and it stayed dry, never before have we had the opportunity to take ALL our kit off all all vehicles, see it all piled up, and select what goes where, with regards to our vehicle fleet to be retained post today.

Team member Neil Aspinall supplied a huge amount of venison burgers (From his recent shooting exploits) Chris Greenhalgh supplied the bread and dressings, Bob Hutchinson brought along a variety of savoury sausages and our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE supplied the wine, for our lunchtime break BBQ, before we all started for the ’afternoon and evening shift.’

Alison and Hannah Greenough kept us endlessly supplied with tea / coffee / cold drinks, whilst strapping systems and what goes where, and why what goes where, was endlessly debated and decided upon.

Finally late afternoon it all started to come together, and as darkness fell the task was nearly completed.

Tony McNally our Vice President called in twice to view proceedings, and for our ’older members’ both his trips brought comparisons and ribald comments, likening him to ’Old Mister Grace’ visiting his staff in “Are You Being Served,” Tony even said much to our amusement, “You’ve all done very well.”

We managed to empty ’Go Outdoors’ of their stock of lightweight Karabineer links, used to hang up kit in the new vehicles, not a strapping system remained on the shelves of local motorist suppliers (A slight exaggeration, but not by much!) and the ’Kit tagging system’ thanks to Diane Blakeley’s hard work caused Staples and Maplin stores to order more emergency supplies of plastic tie wraps and coloured key fobs!

By late evening, it was nearly finished, and then we got ’Called Out!’ (see Incident Report 26) Well that’s what we exist for, so all three brand new barely in service Land Rovers joined our existing BM4 vehicle in a response to the Egerton / Turton area for their first operational call out with the team.

With some commissioning works still outstanding, once the call out had finished, it was a case of ’burning the midnight oil,’ to get everything finished, hence the next day 01.15hrs finish!

(And we forgot to tell Chris Greenhalgh and Samantha McKay, who had delivered our decommissioned BM1 and BM2 to a secure overnight store, (Awaiting their collection by NEWSAR tomorrow) of the call out, so they returned late night to a deserted Base / HQ wondering where we had all gone too!)

The myriad of new buttons and switches for team members to get used to…

All our vehicles will be out and about in the Rivington area on Good Friday.

Team members spruce up the motors before their first (planned) use on Good Friday

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, 21st February and 19th April 2011.

With regards to previous articles on our website regards the East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund, (who contributed so much to the purchase of our new vehicles) 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, 29th August 2010 and 19th April 2011.