Team present at this year’s Darwen 999 Emergency Services town centre event

Today the team was present yet again at this year’s Annual Darwen 999 Emergency Services Day, held in the town centre.

This annual event, organised as ever by our dear friend PCSO Nick Gisicz at Darwen, aided by his colleague PCSO Lizzie, aims to bring together every year all the Emergency Services operating in Darwen, and showcase them to the townsfolk of Darwen.

We had on show, all four of our specialist Mountain Rescue Land Rover Ambulance vehicles, our Ford Transit Minibus / Crewbus Ambulance and our VW Crafter Incident Control Vehicle.

We also had on display our 3.5m Semi-Rigid Inflatable SAR Boat.

Team Call Out list members Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Trainee Air Scenting Dog Handler Paul Chisholm and Trainee Search Dog Bella, Equipment Officer (IT and Communications) Steve Fletcher, Ken Oakes, Mike Marsh, John Dickinson, Samantha McKay, Martin Battersby, Life Vice President Alan James, Ged Clarke, Alistair Greenough, Matthew Hailwood, Kris Kilshaw, and Michael Wakerley with Probationary member Gary Melia (Thanks for the bacon and sausage barmcakes) were on hand to answer the many questions asked of us by the large number of interested visitors, young and old alike, to today’s 999 Emergency Services Day.


Team Support Group members Iain Clarkson, Dave Rees, Laura Tunnicliffe and Sarah Hindle also attended, looking after our second hand book sales (All donations accepted) from our Display Tent.

Also in attendance today were displays and vehicles from Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, including the Darwen based Pump Appliance, a Mobile Incident / Fire Station Vehicle and a 4WD Small Fire Response Unit.

Lancashire Constabulary brought along a Divisional Patrol Vehicle with an attendant RTC display (The horrific remains of a vehicle accident) and the North West Ambulance service had on display a Rapid Response Vehicle.

British Red cross were present with their brand new Lancashire County FESS – Fire Emergency Support Service, vehicle and a Major Incident Command Unit vehicle.

Also attending were a large number of smartly uniformed very enthusiastic teenage volunteers from Lancashire Constabulary Voluntary Police Cadets.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE would like to thank two of the Cadets, a young girl of fourteen and a 16 year old girl, for their excellent overview of the Cadet scheme, and extends his best wishes on their future aspirations to become respectively a member of Lancashire Constabulary Mounted Branch, and a firearms Officer with Lancashire Constabulary.

Sadly despite the sunshine and warmth of this last week the weather today was not too kind to us, starting off cold with light rain.

A great many visitors attended on the basis of social media notices put out about the vent on twitter.

From the combined sales of second hand books and Bolton MRT wristbands, alongside our “Gingerbread man” competition, and a great many very kind general donations, and with thanks to the good townsfolk of Darwen today and other visitors to Darwen, we are pleased to announce that we received a total of £75.82 in donations.

We also received a kind donation of a packet of Werther’s Original toffees of a kindly gentleman.

During the day we were visited by the Mayor of Darwen, and other local Civic Dignitaries, who asked many interesting questions about our work.

As ever Trainee Air Scenting Mountain Rescue Search Dog Bella made many friends today especially amongst the children present.

The team welcomes this opportunity every year to be invited to showcase and display all our vehicles and SAR equipment in Darwen at this always popular event, illustrating the voluntary search and rescue role we carry out within the local Darwen community.