Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service welcomes Bolton MRT to GMFRS Bolton North Fire Station

Regular readers will be aware that we recently introduced in to team operational service our VW Crafter LWB van based Incident Control Vehicle, radio callsign BM6 (Bolton Mobile Six)

This vehicle is garaged alongside one of our four specialist Mountain Rescue Land Rover Ambulance vehicles, in a double bay garage at GMFRS Bolton Central Fire Station, which has been very kindly provided by GMFRS to the Bolton MRT since June 2003.

At our Base / HQ at Ladybridge Hall, on Chorley New Road, Bolton, within the NWAS Headquarters complex, with the kindness of NWAS, we occupy the former stable / garage building to the Hall, within which we garage two more of our four specialist Mountain Rescue Land Rover Ambulance vehicles.

Here also we have in undercover storage our Catering Trailer Unit and our 3.5m Semi rigid Inflatable SAR Boat and its trailer, whilst our Ford Transit Minibus is kept in outdoor parking.

With our brand new Incident Control Vehicle now in place within the garage at GMFRS Bolton Central Fire Station, it ‘displaced’ our oldest Land Rover, ‘BM4’ which came in to team service (Brand new at the time) in 2003.

An appeal to find new undercover secure and convenient parking / garaging for our ‘BM4’ vehicle was immediately met and answered by our friends and colleagues in Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, who put in place and made provision for us to have the use of one bay of a two bay garage outbuilding at GMFRS Bolton North Fire Station, on Crompton Way, Bolton.

After some preparation works to this garage, (Carried out very kindly by personnel at Bolton North Fire Station) we are now very pleased to announce that just before midnight last night, Wednesday 3rd July 2013, we officially moved in to this garage at GMFRS Bolton North Fire Station, which is now currently the ‘home base’ for our specialist Mountain Rescue Land Rover Ambulance ‘BM4.’

The very kind provision of this garage by GMFRS, is greatly appreciated by all in Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, as has been the garage provided by GMFRS at Bolton Central Fire Station.

With team operational vehicles now based / garaged on the western main route out of Bolton (At NWAS Ladybridge Hall) Bolton town centre at GMFRS Bolton Central Fire Station, and now on the main Bolton ring road, and covering the north and east of Bolton, at GMFRS Bolton North Fire Station on Crompton Way, all three provide the Bolton MRT with strategic locations with which to respond quickly to emergency calls upon the Bolton MRT.

The team membership would like to extend its particular thanks to GMFRS Bolton Borough Commander Ian Bailey and GMFRS Station Commander Wayne Guffogg of Bolton North Fire Station, for so readily and kindly agreeing to allow the Bolton MRT use of the garage at Bolton North Fire Station.

The team also acknowledges the assistance and support in this provided by GMFRS Estates.

We would also like to acknowledge the part played in this provision of garage space by Bolton MRT team member Nigel Booth, who is based at Bolton North Fire Station as a GMFRS Watch Commander.

The provision now of two garage locations by GMFRS within GMFRS Bolton Borough to Bolton MRT, and premises / garaging similarly kindly provided by NWAS to Bolton MRT, serves to illustrate the fantastic highly valued positive support we receive from our close operational colleagues at GMFRS and NWAS.

Bolton MRT will be present fully supporting the GMFRS Fire Station Open Days scheduled for Saturday 31st August 2013 at Bolton Central Fire Station, and on Saturday 19th October 2013 at Bolton North Fire Station. (We are also present at GMFRS Fire Station Open Days at Irlam on Monday 26th August 2013 and Eccles on Saturday 14th September 2013)

For those interested in the history of the team, we started in the late 1960s in a room at the Rec Club on St Georges Road, Bolton, following which came a move and a long relationship with Bolton MBC at premises at the now demolished New Overdale Youth Training Centre on Chorley New Road, Bolton.

Our first team vehicle and then vehicles, were parked outside here, until the mid 1980s when we secured the use of a one bay garage at New Overdale.

There then followed a very long period when the rest of our team vehicles were kept in outside storage at Carnaud Metal Box, at Westhoughton, and then a period in internal storage at CMB, sadly ending when the entire plant was shut down and the land redeveloped for housing.

With New Overdale closing prior to its demolition and redevelopment of the site, the team faced homelessness (At least from a meeting room perspective) but then GMFRS stepped in with the garage space at Bolton Central Fire Station (With thanks at the time to GMFRS Divisional Officer Kevan Whitehead and Sub Officer Ray Clift) and then NWAS (With huge thanks to Derek Cartwright, now NWAS Director of Emergency Services) and NWAS Ladybridge Hall, with garage and room space at Ladybridge Hall with the news that CMB Westhoughton was closing down.

Date wise, the last operational response by a team vehicle from our New Overdale Base / HQ was by BM1 to Incident 53 – 2003 on Saturday 14th June 2003 (A FAGI call to a balloon crash at Tockholes)

The building at New Overdale was officially vacated by the team on Sunday 15th June 2003, with team member at the time Dave Healey ‘locking up.’ (Though team member at the time John Carlin on 17th June 2003, was the last team member actually in New Overdale when the very last of our fittings were moved out)

We first moved in to ‘our’ garage at GMFRS Bolton Central Fire Station on Sunday 15th June 2003 with one Land Rover and all our worldly possessions, our other vehicles still being based at the time at CMB Westhoughton.

The first operational response made from GMFRS BCFS was by our BM1 Land Rover to Incident 61 – 2003 on Saturday 12th July 2003 to Edgworth.

On Sunday 28th September 2003, we commenced garaging Land Rovers BM1 and BM3 at GMFRS BCFS (Other vehicles still being at CMB) with the first duel operational response from BCFS being to Incident 76 – 2003 on Wednesday 22nd October 2003 to Salford.

Following our departure from CMB from Sunday 8th February 2004, we also based our Control Trailer in the GMFRS BCFS garage.

Regards our building at NWAS Ladybridge Hall, following extensive building refurbishment works we moved items in store at GMFRS BCFS since our departure from New Overdale, into Ladybridge Hall on Sunday 25th January 2004.

The first operational response in a team vehicle from LBH (Ladybridge Hall) was land Rover BM2 to an incident at Peel Tower, Holcombe, on the very same day, Sunday 25th January 2004.

By Wednesday 28th January 2004, LBH was in a position to be used by the team membership for an NWAS ‘snow cover’ standby, including incident 15 – 2004 response.

The first team meeting as such to be held at LBH was on Wednesday 28th January 2004 (Casualty care equipment familiarisation by team members at the time, Jim Wareing and Gerry Ryan)

Sunday 8th February 2004 signalled our departure from the Carnaud Metal Box complex at Westhoughton as the plant was preparing to close down completely.

With this closure looming, on Sunday 8th February 2004, and with two Land Rovers already garaged at this time at GMFRS BCFS, the two Land Rovers left based at CMB moved to LBH along with our Catering Trailer (Which was actually relocated to LBH on Saturday 7th February 2004) whilst this same day our CMB parked Control trailer was relocated to GMFRS BCFS.

(Our last operational response from CMB had been made on Saturday 17th January 2004 to Incident 12 – 2004)

By the end of Sunday 8th February 2004, our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ was declared fully operational.

So we have come a (Very) long way since our first humble beginnings in 1968, thanks to the never to be forgotten help and appreciated support of some very valued friends in Bolton MBC, and then GMFRS and NWAS.

We shall now await the first operational response to be made from our latest team garage at GMFRS Bolton North Fire Station.