Team plays host to a visit by Members of Parliament and senior representatives of the Statutory Emergency Services.

This afternoon the team was honoured to receive as very special guests five local Members of Parliament to our Ladybridge Hall Base/HQ, situated on Chorley New Road, Bolton.

Visiting us alongside the five Members of Parliament were senior representatives of the Statutory Emergency Services we work alongside.

The visit was arranged for the following purposes:

  • To introduce the work of the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, and our liaison at a local level with our Statutory Emergency Services, to the Members of Parliament visiting today.
  • To thank our local Members of Parliament for the recent Government announcement of national financial support for civilian mountain rescue teams in the UK, via an equipment grant to be administered in our case by our national body ; Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
  • To highlight the work of Mountain Rescue to the Members of Parliament visiting us, in assisting the Statutory Emergency Services via partnership multi agency responses to emergencies within our local communities.
  • As an opportunity to display to all present, and to formally introduce, the new emergency vehicle livery we have adopted for all five of our Emergency vehicles.
  • To discuss with the Members of Parliament present the ongoing issue of gaining VAT exemption for all equipment purchases made by mountain rescue teams.

An invitation to attend today had gone out via David Crausby MP office to all Members of Parliament within the team’s total primary operational area, i.e. Bolton, the western parts of Bury, Salford, parts of Manchester, Trafford and Wigan in Greater Manchester, and parts of Chorley and Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire.

Five of the Members of Parliament invited kindly accepted the offer to visit us, and today at 13.00hrs the following were warmly welcomed to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ.

  • David Crausby (Labour) MP Bolton North East.
  • Julie Hilling (Labour) MP Bolton West.
  • Yasmin Qureshi (Labour) MP Bolton South East.
  • Yvonne Fovargue (Labour) Makerfield.
  • Lindsey Hoyle (Labour) MP Chorley.

Present today representing the Statutory Emergency Services we work alongside were ;

  • John Buttress, Chief Inspector Operations, Bolton Division, Greater Manchester Police.
  • Inspector Graham Peffers and Sergeant Mark Sweeney from the Specialist Search Unit, Greater Manchester Police.
  • James Hutton, Emergency Response Directorate, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Derek Cartwright, Director Of Emergency Services, North West Ambulance Service.
  • Paul West, Clinical Director, North West Air Ambulance, Helimed 08 / 72.

Following their initial welcome, all were invited to a buffet with drinks, and then moved into our main lecture room where our Display Exhibition panels were on show to illustrate the work of the team.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE introduced a short DVD to our special guests, which outlined on a national level, the work of the UKs mountain and cave rescue teams.

Team Life Vice President Tony McNally in conversation with David Crausby MP and Yvonne Fovargue MP

Garry then briefly outlined the operational workload of the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, the mountain rescue response and involvement in recent national major incidents, and highlighted the close partnership working the Bolton MRT has with the local Statutory Emergency Services.

All then adjourned to the courtyard fronting our Base/HQ, where our four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles were on show, alongside our Minibus (All five now resplendent in their new livery), our Control Trailer, Catering Trailer, 3.5m Semi Rigid Inflatable SAR Boat, and Aershelta equipment.

Team callout list member Martin Banks shows Chief Inspector John Buttress the equipment carried inside the team vehicles.

Photographs were taken, and then all took the opportunity to see a display of the comprehensive search and rescue equipment, normally carried on each of our four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, which was on show in our garage area.

Considerable interest in the work of the team and mountain rescue in a national sense, was shown by the five members of Parliament visiting and all pledged their continued support of mountain rescue in the future when raised at Parliament.

Yvonne Fovargue MP talking to team member Naomi Horan

Present from the team to welcome and meet with our guests were:

  • Team President Bob Hutchinson, a former Bolton MRT Team Leader, with thirty ones years service in the team.
  • Team Life Vice President Alan James, a founder Bolton MRT member, with forty three years service in the team. (And prior to the Bolton MRT forming, one years service with as was, Rossendale Fell Rescue Team)
  • Team Life Vice President Tony McNally, a former Bolton MRT Chairman, with twenty years service in the team.
  • Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, in his twenty third year as Team Leader, and with thirty one years service in the team.
  • Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon, a former Bolton MRT Team Leader, with forty two years service in the team.

Also in attendance were Bolton MRT Call Out list members Naomi Horan, Steve O’Hara, Chris Tennant, Martin Banks, Paul Copley, and Trainee SARDA Trail dog Handler and Bolton MRT member Steve Nelson, with his Trainee Mountain Rescue Trail Dog Boris.

Team President Bob Hutchinson looking very thoughtful in conversation with Julie Hilling MP and David Crausby MP.

The team was also happy to welcome NWAS Headquarters Ladybridge Hall General Manger Anne El-Garidi, who so kindly ’looks after us and our interests’ within the NWAS Headquarters complex at Ladybridge Hall.

The whole Bolton Mountain Rescue Team membership would like to thank the five Members of Parliament present today for taking the time out from their busy schedules to visit us and gain a better understanding of the work of Bolton MRT and mountain rescue in general.

Pictured left-right: Garry Rhodes MBE, Martin Banks, Paul West, Graham Peffers, Tony McNally, John Buttress, Bob Hutchinson, David Crausby, Steve Nelson and Search Dog Boris, Yvonne Fovargue MP, Julie Hilling MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Lindsey Hoyle MP, Paul Copley, Derek Cartwright, Steve O’Hara, Mark Sweeney, Geoff Seddon, Jim Hutton

We would also like to thank our dear friends and colleagues representing GMP, GMFRS, NWAS and NWAA who also attended today, clearly illustrating the close excellent operational working relationship that exists between the Bolton MRT (And with other MRTs in Lancashire and Greater Manchester) and the Statutory Emergency Services present during today’s visit.