A little bit of history from our early years that will interest our readers

The below consists of extracts from a recent email exchange between our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and founder team member Alan Southworth, which gives an insight in to the early years of our great team:

On Wednesday 14th November 2012, our Team Secretary Gillian Gregory received the below email from Alan Southworth, entitled ‘Founder Members.’

Hi, A little information on the founding of Bolton MRT. The founder members after breaking from Rossendale team in 1968 were : Myself, Alan Southworth, Mike Ainscough, Mike Marshall, Glen Atkinson and Ian Bain. I was assistant Team leader from 1969 – 72.

Carry on with the excellent work. Hope this helps. Kind regards, Alan Southworth, Walk leader for Ramblers Association. Darwen.

On Thursday 15th November 2012, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE replied to Alan with the following:

Dear Alan, Many thanks for the below which has been passed to me by our Team Secretary Gillian Gregory.

Over the years I have become the teams archivist, and so the below interests me greatly, particularly as our written records are scant to almost non existent pre 1975.

You appear to have left out Alan (‘General’) James from the below list, as he is certainly of the impression he was in from the start, after transferring as a young ‘sprog’ from Rossendale Fell Rescue Team, on Bolton MRTs foundation in late 1968.

Glen Atkinson was my Scout Leader at the same time as the team formed and into the early 1970’s at 6th Worsley Scouts, as were team members Howard Hill and John Entwistle, (and John’s wife) in fact all three / four became very close and dear friends of my parents in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Mike Ainscough (Mike Hope Ainscough) I first met via the NWWA Rangers at Rivington, in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s, and he and his wife Eve, (Eva ?) became close friends of mine at the time, I assisting him with his DoE Award Expedition work at one time.

The team has kept in intermittent contact with Mike since.

The team has changed beyond all recognition since its early days, but I for one have never forgotten our roots nor the depth of gratitude owed to our founder members, who had the vision to establish our great team.

Geoff Seddon is still very active in the team as our Deputy Team Leader as is Alan James (To give him his Sunday Best name!) who is one of our Life Vice Presidents, and still turns up to take a full and active role on call outs, and in rare moments refers to Geoff Seddon as the ‘youth.’

I would like to extend an open invitation to you to visit the team at our wonderful Base / HQ situated within the NWAS Headquarters complex on Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 5DD.

We still train every Wednesday evening, plus there are usually team members about most Sundays, but a visit at other times is no problem to arrange.

With four specialist built Land Rover Ambulances, a Minibus, a Control Trailer, Catering Trailer, General purpose trailer with two ‘Aershelta’ tents, and a 3.5m semi rigid inflatable SAR Boat plus trailer, we have come a long way since the days of the ex Bolton Royal Laundry Van (And to add to the list we are taking delivery of a state of the art brand new incident Control Vehicle in February 2013, at circa £46.000.00 thanks to some wonderful discount deals)

We now ‘average’ 100x Call Outs per annum , with 80x so far attended this year, and operate from a vehicle garage at Bolton Central Fire Station, with our Base / HQ and more garage space at Ladybridge Hall, where we occupy the former stables / garages block to the old Hall. (Again so different from the early days at the Drill Hall ? and at New Overdale)

All best regards, do please visit us if you wish, Garry. Garry Rhodes MBE Team Leader, Bolton MRT. Team member 1974 – 1975, 1980, 1983 to date. Team Leader since March 1989.

PS We have an excellent website at www.boltonmrt.org.uk which features daily news reports on all team activities.

Alan Southworth in turn replied to Garry’s email, on Thursday 15th November 2012, stating:

Dear Garry,

You are of course correct, I have omitted Alan James, a “Young General” in those days. I remained good friends with John Entwistle and Howard, that was during our motor bike combination days. We had many an evening run after a strenuous training exercise from our Longsleddale base to the Plough Inn for a few lemonades. Geoff and “General” may recall these.

I will take up your kind offer one these days and visit your present base.

Kind regards, Alan.

The team now looks forward to Alan Southworth visiting us in the hopefully not too distant future.