Incident 86/2012

At 12.22hrs early this icy cold afternoon, the team was paged by NWAS (Manchester) ECC to respond to the Moses Gate Country Park, Farnworth, with the reports of a woman having slipped on ice.

The call was answered by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, who was able to immediately request the despatch of two of our Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances from an event they were covering at Canon Slade School, Bolton. (See related website news report dated today)

Initially there was a little confusion over the RVP and exact location of the injured woman, given the large area that Moses Gate Country Park occupies and in consultation with NWAS (Manchester) ECC it was decided that responding resources would meet at the main entrance to the Country Park in Farnworth.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE arrived first on scene at the RVP at 12.38hrs closely followed by the responding NWAS Emergency Ambulance at 12.39hrs and then our two responding Land Rovers.


Here three young boys met the Team and NWAS, they turning out to have originally found the woman, comforted her initially and then (Without a mobile phone themselves) asking a man and woman passing by to phone for an Ambulance. (The call being made at 12.17hrs)

The three boys had then run over a large distance to the main entrance of the Park, having heard our sirens, to guide us to the woman’s location.

Our Team Leader in his own vehicle was able to drive underneath the height restriction barrier to the Park, and with the three boys in his vehicle to guide him, he proceeded into the Park.

Meanwhile our two Land Rovers and the NWAS ambulance attempted to get through into the Park using another entrance to which we usually have key access.


Upon arrival outside the Rock Hall Information Centre, within Moses Gate Country Park, our Team Leader immediately despatched two of the boys to run back (Carefully, it was very icy) to the woman’s location to tell her help was on its way.

The third boy stayed with our Team Leader, to help guide him and the initial responding members and Ambulance crew to the scene.

Meanwhile it was established that the access keys we hold would not open the new locks fitted to the bottom entrance gate, and our quick thinking Team Leader requested of a nearby Ice Cream Van salesman if he had keys to the gate (He must have to have been there thought Garry)

The Ice cream vendor Lukasz Gnus of Walls Ice Cream, did indeed have the correct access gate keys and quickly drove to the lower park entrance letting all the responding emergency vehicles enter the Country Park.

The third boy then led Garry, and the two NWAS Emergency Ambulance men to the woman’s location.

Upon arriving at the casualty site , the woman was found collapsed face down, on a very narrow ice covered boardwalk, bounded on one side by an open lodge, and immediately on the other side by a rush covered iced over pond.

The woman was being comforted by the two boys who had run back to her, and they initially looked after the woman’s two dogs whilst the Ambulance men checked her over.

The woman had apparently slipped on the ice covered boardwalk, and had apparently fallen into the water and had then managed to scramble out again and onto the boardwalk, which in itself is partly submerged.

Here she had collapsed with suspected hypothermia, whereupon the three boys discovered her and then called for help.

The big priority was to get the woman warm and removed from the narrow boardwalk, with Team member Gillian Leigh now looking after the woman’s dogs which refused to leave her side (And probably kept her warm up to the arrival of the Ambulance and us)

The woman in a very careful manner, was placed on a Long Board, and then carried along the very narrow boardwalk, which was covered in ice and had open water either side of it, by NWAS and MRT members to the nearby path system.


Here at circa 13.20hrs she was placed on a SAR Alpine Lite specialist mountain rescue stretcher, and carried (Still conscious but unresponsive) back to the waiting NWAS Ambulance by the Rock Hall Information Centre.

Finally at 13.26hrs she was in the warmth of the NWAS Ambulance.

The three young boys who had found her, had continued to help, carrying some of the mountain rescue equipment back from the casualty site to the emergency services vehicles RVP at Rock Hall.

They also initially looked after the woman’s dogs again as Gillian Leigh was needed for the stretcher carry.

Due to the nature of her being discovered collapsed by the boys, GMP had also been called to this incident by NWAS, and at this point they arrived.

Along with Team member Gillian Leigh and one of the NWAS crew members, Police Officers went back to the actual incident site and cordoned off the area.

Shortly afterwards, with the three young boys assisting Police with their enquiries to establish the identity of the woman, the woman’s son and then her husband turned up, with both having become concerned for her as she had not returned from her dog walk earlier in the morning.

The woman aged 51, from the Little Lever area, was then taken for treatment to Royal Bolton Hospital, where she was admitted to the wards.

Police quickly carried out their investigations, with thanks to the young boys for raising the alarm and then helping out subsequently.

We also said our thanks, and offered to buy the three young boys an ice cream from the ice cream vendor, he in turn gave them all an ice cream for free, rewarding them for their actions.

Certainly without the help of these three young boys, one aged eleven and two aged twelve, this incident would have lasted a lot longer, and their public spiritedness given their young age was an inspiration to all of us present.

As an aside team member Gillian Leigh is writing to the Head Teachers of the schools of the three boys; Harper Green School and St James School, to ask that the young boys be thanked for their actions.

The following resources were involved and deployed to this incident;

  • NWAS (Manchester) Emergency Control Centre.
  • NWAS (Manchester) Emergency Ambulance and two crew from Rochdale Ambulance Station.
  • Bolton MRT; Two Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, and nine team call out list members.
  • Greater Manchester Police; At least three responding vehicles, four Officers and two CID Officers.