Team holds a very special Queen”s Diamond Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2012 Presentation Evening

This evening at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, commencing at 18.30hrs the team held a very special presentation event at which twenty eight current team members and one former team member received their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal 1952 – 2012.

The Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee, has awarded this medal to all in the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and Prison Service, who at February this year had completed five years service in their respective organisations.

This follows a similar medal, issued to the Armed Services and Emergency Services, in 2002, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2002. (Which was also awarded to some of our members at the time)

Our special guests of honour tonight were the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Guy Harkin and his wife, the Mayoress of Bolton, Colette Harkin.



Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Life Vice President Tony McNally and the Mayor of Bolton Councillor Guy Harkin

Representing our colleagues in NWAS (Greater Manchester Area) was Community Engagement Manager and NWAS (GMA) Liaison Officer for Mountain Rescue Andy Redgrave.

Unfortunately due to current operational commitments our colleagues from GMP, Lancashire Constabulary, GMFRS and LFRS could not attend.

Thirty five current call Out list members attended, alongside four support group members, with a further twenty five people present representing families, children and other invited guests.

Our full guest list, included the Mayor and Mayoress, and their attendant, six wives / partners of current members receiving their medals tonight; Janet Hutchinson, Di James, Mandy Aspinall, Penny Young (and her children Annabel, Natasha, Oliver and Alexander and Penny’s mum Hazel Jones) Gill Parry and Alison Greenough.



Four proud Team Medal holders (l-r Garry Rhodes MBE, Diane Blakeley, Bob Hutchinson and Gill Leigh)

Team member Gill Leigh’s husband Ian was present (A former team member and ex Deputy Team Leader) their daughter Megan, and Gill’s mum and dad, Joan and Len Charles.

Other children of team members present included Andy Kench’s daughter Holly, Mark Parry’s daughter Nicole, and Alistair Grennough’s daughter Hannah.



One happy dad (team member Andy Kench) with his very proud daughter Holly

Former team member Fred Taylor attended to receive his medal, in the company of his wife Julie, and of course Andrew Redgrave.

The evening commenced with the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton’s arrival, and their look around our vehicles and team kit on display, and introductions to our President Bob Hutchinson, Life Vice Presidents Alan James and Tony McNally, Chairman Craig Lamb, Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, and Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon.



Team Members Ged Clarke and Dr Mark Scott proudly display their medals

The Mayor and Mayoress and guests were then invited to the premiere of an excellent short film on the work of the Bolton MRT recently prepared by team member Diane Blakeley.

Here events immediately deviated from our plan, with the call out of our Search Dog Handler Steve Nelson and his Trailing Dog Boris.

Quickly rearranging events, and with all present now together, Steve Nelson was very surprised and proud to be this years recipient of the Howard Hill Memorial Tankard Award.



Steve Nelson and Search Dog Boris with the HJH Memorial Tankard

Usually awarded at our Annual team Dinner (Steve could not attend this year) and now in its twenty second year of being presented, the HJH Memorial Tankard, commemorates and preserves the memory of Howard hill, a team member from 1969 up to his death in 1990, during which time he was also Team Leader for six years from 1983 to 1989.

The Tankard is awarded annually to the person or persons making an outstanding contribution to the workings of the team.

Steve Nelson received the Howard Hill Memorial Tankard Award this year for his tremendous achievement after many years of intense training, in grading as an operational Mountain Rescue Search Dog Handler / Trailing Dog within SARDA Wales. (this being the assessment and grading body for Trailing Dogs in the UK at present)

Steve was then presented with his Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2012, and then departed for a search in Todmorden (See associated report, this same evening)

Back to schedule, the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Guy Harkin, then presented Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2012, to the remaining twenty seven current team members present, with Life Vice President Tony McNally calling out the recipients including himself!

The following then received their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2012;
(* indicates previous recipients of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal 1952 – 2002 within the Bolton MRT for mountain rescue)

Team Leader Vernon Garry Rhodes MBE*, Deputy Team Leader Geoffrey Hilton Seddon*, Mike Marsh*, Neil Aspinall, Paul Brain, Brian Brooks, Ged Clarke, Gyles Denn, Equipment Officer Steven Fletcher, Equipment Officer Chris Greenhalgh, Alistair Greenough, Matthew Hailwood, Life Vice President and founder team member Alan Eric James*, Louise Jorgensen*, Andrew Kench, Chairman Craig Lamb*, Gillian Leigh, David Marsh*, Mark Parry*, Neil Ramsbottom, Doctor Mark Scott, Equipment Officer Chris Tennant, Neil Warburton, Diane Blakeley*, President Robert S. Hutchinson*, Life Vice President Tony McNally*, and Ken Oakes.



The Team Member photo of the evening

Former team member Fred Taylor who recently left the team after a considerable period of dedicated service was then presented with his medal.

The medal presentation was concluded by the Mayor of Bolton who thanked all Team Call Out list and Support Group members present for their dedicated commitment and service to the residents of Bolton and the surrounding areas.



The Moyor and Mayoress of Bolton with senior team members

The pride of all who received their medals was very evident, and it should be stated that almost all who received their medals tonight had actually completed many years service in Bolton MRT beyond the five years in order to receive the medal. (eg Life Vice President Alan Eric James, forty five years mountain rescue service, Deputy Team Leader Geoffrey Hilton Seddon, forty three years MR service, President Robert S. Hutchinson, thirty two years MR service, Team Leader Vernon Garry Rhodes MBE, thirty one years MR service, Mike Marsh twenty six years MR service, Louise Jorgensen twenty years MR service)

Team President Bob Hutchinson then presented to the team, a beautiful framed little memento made to the memory of Howard J Hill a great many years ago, fully explaining the story behind this gift to the team (Please see separate report)



Bob Hutchinson holds aloft the newly framed memento initially presented by Tom Goulder when aged 8 of Rose Hall, Sutherland on Sunday 15th July 1990 in memory of Howard Hill

All then assembled in our courtyard area for photographs to mark this very special occasion for the team, and then it was off for all to enjoy the excellent buffet, wines and soft drinks kindly provided by team member and Team Control Vehicle Project Officer Martin Banks and his wife Stella Banks, with Team Support Group members Iain Clarkson, Gillian Gregory (Keep off the wine!) Sarah Hindle and Julie Thompson kindly serving all present with their fare for the evening and a ready smile.

Also on show for the evening was a fantastic ‘scrapbook and photographic record’ of the late Search Dog Chi, prepared in secret for Chi’s handler, team member Dave Marsh, by his wife and daughters, which Dave had only received days before and was overjoyed with receiving.



Two former Team Leaders flank our current Team Leader (l-r Geoff Seddon 1973 – 1981, Garry Rhodes MBE (1989 – present) and Bob Hutchinson (1981 – 1983)

All to soon this very special evening was over, with many proud team members later that evening showing their families back home their very special medal.

The following comments were made in the teams ‘Guestbook’ during the evening by those present, which sums up this wonderful night;

“Brings back happy memories of 20 years ago as a volunteer fund raiser, still going strong and prospering. Keep up the good work. Well done to all.” Joan and Len Charles.

“It’s great to see the Rescue Team recognised for the valuable work it does. It takes huge commitment from everyone as individuals and professionalism from the Team as a whole. I’m proud to be associated with it.” Di James.

“What a fantastic occasion ! A real privilege to be part of the celebrations. Lovely to see all the displays and stories of rescues etc. Thank you to all you do and well done.” Gill Parry.

“Very proud of you all, keep up the good work.” Nicole Parry.

“Thank you for providing such a dedicated and professional service to the people who live and work within the North West. congratulations to you all – well done.” Andy Redgrave NWAS.

“Well done to all the Jubilee Medal recipients and congrats to you all.” Councillor Guy Harkin, Mayor of Bolton.

“To Ali G and all the team members, we are very proud of you. Congratulations.” Alison and Hannah Greenough.

“Congratulations to everyone. you are brill and mint !” Hannah Greenough.

“Great to be here for your deserved celebration.thank you all for your time and dedication. Best wishes.” Colette Harkin, Mayoress of Bolton.

“It is just the same as I left it, very clean.” Fred Taylor.

“What a privilege to be present at such a significant celebration. Your tremendous contribution to our society is often “Out of sight, out of mind” I shall be more aware and supportive after this visit, congratulations to the whole team.” Hazel Jones.

“Keep up the good work. Good to see you all again.” Ian Leigh.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE also received the following message from Team Call Out list member Steve O’Hara, who could not attend this evening due to the recent death of a very close family member;

“I’m so sorry I cannot make it tonight, but please will you pass on my message of congratulations to all those members of the team who are receiving their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal tonight. Hopefully I’ll see you all soon.” Steve O’Hara.



Our assembled team members and guests present this evening