Today GMP (Bolton Division) Officers joined the Bolton MRT for an awareness training day about the team

Today we were joined by nineteen GMP Police Officers who were with us to gain a greater awareness in to the role and work of the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

The Officers, all part of Sgt Fran McArdle’s team, were from Astley Bridge, Bolton and Scholey Street, Bolton, Police Stations.

Twelve Team Call Out list members supported this training today, alongside help from Simon Lane, Team Leader of Cheshire Search and Rescue Team, and Rick Lane also of Cheshire SART, who were both present as observers, with an interest in hosting a similar event with Cheshire Constabulary.

The Bolton MRT members present today were Life Vice President Alan James, Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Training Officer Dave Marsh, Equipment Officer (Medical) Nigel Booth, Equipment Officer (Water) John Fletcher, John Dickinson, Trainee Team member Jess Ellsmore, Trainee Search Dog Handler Paul Chisholm, Paul Copley, Trainee team member Michael Eddleston, Alistair Greenough and Chris Tennant.

The day started with the arrival of the first Police Officers at circa 08.00hrs, and the first of the many sessions of the day commencing at 08.40hrs with an introduction from our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE.

He explained that the aim of today was to provide the Police Officers present, all from GMP Bolton Division, with an insight in to how Bolton MRT conducts its voluntary search and rescue role in support of the Fire, Police and Ambulance services within the local community.

Introductory DVDs and a power point presentation on the team, were followed by a short duration search exercise in the wooded areas surrounding our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ.

All present then had presentations based around our six team vehicles (Four Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulances, our Crewbus and our Incident Control vehicle) and our SAR Boat.

An overview of all the equipment carried on our team vehicles then followed, with all present then splitting into smaller groups, for ‘hands on’ practical workshops based on our stretchers and our comprehensive medical equipment.

With a break for lunch and thankfully clearer skies following the very heavy rain of earlier this morning, all the GMP Officers were then transported in our team vehicles to the Wilderswood area of Horwich, on the fringes of Wilders Moor.



Here a demonstration of Trainee Mountain Rescue Air Scenting Search Dog Bella with her handler Paul Chisholm took place, with Team Trainee member Jess Ellsmore, playing the part of a missing person, being quickly located by Bella on the lower slopes of the moorland landmark of Two Lads.

The Police Officers then (With help from the team members present) carried out a mountain rescue stretcher evacuation of Jess back to the vehicles RVP at Wilderswood Plantations.

Many interested passing walkers (Quite a few were team followers and supporters) enquired as to the proceedings and wished the team well.



By 14.30hrs with the exercise completed, it was a return for all to our Base / HQ at Ladybridge Hall, and a chance to warm up again (It was quite chilly outdoors) and ask any final questions of the team membership, before they departed our company.

The day was judged a great success, with all Police Officers commenting how the day had greatly increased their understanding of the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

During the morning of today the team had been contacted by GMP to assist with an on going search operation at Sale Water Park for a missing person, and for the twelve team members who had supported this awareness session, a short rest (Well tidying up our Base / HQ after today and then preparing for the search operation) followed, and then it was off to the search at Sale Water Park!

The following comments are a selection of those made by the Police Officers present today on the ‘Awareness Day;’

  • Great Experience, should be mandatory especially for Supervisors.
  • I Gained a greater knowledge of what the MRT can do for GMP.
  • Very enjoyable, I can’t believe that we don’t use them more often.
  • The practical exercise was a great experience.
  • A very good day in all, thank you.
    I have really enjoyed my time with Bolton MRT.

  • Great people, very welcoming, a great day.
  • Brilliant, and felt part of the team for the day. Glad we have a great team in place if required.
  • Friendly members making us feel very welcome.
  • I gained an understanding of the operations of Bolton MRT and what they have to offer the other emergency services.
  • A thoroughly enjoyable day.
  • An insight in to the role that the MRT can play in other incidents and the support that is available.
  • It has been practical, informative and assists me in my role as a response Officer.
  • Good tea and toast!
  • The high quality and variety of their equipment.
  • The enthusiasm the Bolton MRT show.
  • A great insight in to how they can assist the Police and other emergency services, and how well qualified they are to perform such services.
  • A great day of training for us.
  • Well worth it, thanks.
  • Good team building day.
  • An enjoyable day working with a worthy cause.
  • Learnt how they can assist in incidents the Police attend and use their expertise to improve results.
  • I have had an enjoyable day that has been educational but also interesting and challenging.
  • I’m grateful to the Bolton MRT giving up their time to give us an insight in to what they can do.
  • An understanding of BMRT and what they can offer, and an understanding of how I can assist BMRT should I have to work with them.
  • The awareness day was excellent, extremely informative with an excellent team, very enjoyable.
  • A good day, taught by knowledgeable volunteers.

Prior to departing us today, all the GMP Officers who attended were given a comprehensive information pack on the Bolton MRT, including our current Events and Training Programme, a ‘Support Bolton MRT’ car sticker, a metal Mountain Rescue Supporters lapel badge, and a copy of our national circulation ‘Mountain Rescue Magazine.’



All the Officers were also given an open invitation to visit us at any time ‘the lights are on in our building,’ or to join us on one of our Wednesday evening weekly exercises.