VIP visit to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ today by Sharman R Birtles JP, DL. The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester 2015 – 2016, which was followed by the Dedication and Blessing of our Incident Control Vehicle and various team awards

This morning at 09.30hrs operational and Support Group team members started assembling at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ for a very special day in this years team calendar.

For the full week beforehand, all our vehicles had been given an extra special clean, our Base / HQ was more spick and span than usual, and our display material had been updated, all in preparation for a special visitor today, and other activities planned around this visit.

At 12 noon, Sharman R Birtles JP, DL, The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester 2015 – 2016, arrived accompanied by her husband Grahame to learn more about our work within the Greater Manchester community.

DSC_5926Sharman and Grahame were met and welcomed by our Team President Bob Hutchinson and Team Life Vice President Tony McNally.

In turn Bob and Tony introduced Sharman and her husband to our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh, and Gillian Gregory of our Support Group, followed by other team operational and Support Group members.

Sharman was also introduced to representatives of the Greater Manchester Statutory Emergency Services who were present, including GMP Superintendent Leor Giladi, GMP Inspector and Force Duty Officer Michael Eddleston – an operational  Bolton MRT member, GMFRS Group Manager, Operational Assurance, Ben Levy, and very long standing friend and supporter of the Bolton MRT; Derek Cartwright, Director of Operations NWAS NHS Trust.

Also attending, and made known to Sharman and Grahame, were representatives of team sponsors and supporters, including very valued and appreciated friends Norma Ramm, Jim Fletcher BEM and his friend June (Jim readers may recall has our Land Rover ‘Bolton Mobile 4’ named in his honour ‘Jim Fletcher BEM.’) and Nick Barlow – with his wife Emma and young nephew, from Edgworth Real Ale Festival Committee.

DSC_5928Sharman and our many guests were then led upstairs, where our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE warmly welcomed all to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, against a great background of pictures from the teams recent activities, put together by our webmaster Paul Brain.

We also welcomed at this stage, another honoured guest for the day, the Bishop of Bolton Chris Edmondson.

All then watched our latest MREW DVD on the work of mountain rescue, followed by long serving team member Diane Blakeley’s personally put together DVD on the Bolton MRT.

An excellent buffet and refreshments were then available to all, thanks to two very kind anonymous benefactors who donated the full catering and drinks costs for the day – including the barbeque that followed the days proceedings.

Tremendous interest in the team was shown both by Sharman and our assembled guests, with much time spent by all looking at the many displays on the walls of our team Base / HQ, with GMP Superintendent Leor Giladi, recognising from some of the press clippings of incidents on our walls, many he had worked upon, whilst GMFRS Ben Levy was particularly interested in our framed signature of support from Nelson Mandela and accompanying letter from the Republic of South Africa.

Mention was especially made of our many Dedication Plaques, honouring the memories of those who have made bequests to the team, or to the everlasting memory of those we have dealt with in unfortunate circumstances on incidents.

DSC_5891All then assembled in the courtyard fronting our Base / HQ, where the torrential rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of all present.

Here under the shelter of our garage and large display marquee tent, our guests were introduced to the Bishop of Bolton, Chris Edmondson, who presided over the Official Dedication and Blessing Ceremony for our Incident Control Vehicle, ‘Bolton Mobile 6,’ named Jenny Hoey, in her everlasting memory, thanks to her large bequest that made the purchase of this specialist vehicle possible.

The Bishop gave a memorable little thought provoking speech (as he said to all – not a sermon) which highlighted our work within the community, and then led all in a short prayer service, Dedicating and Blessing our vehicle in its service within the team.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE then presented a short Awards Ceremony;

The Stanley Award for the Most Promising New Team Member 2015, was presented to Trainee Team member Heath Doran, in the presence of his wife Ruth, in recognition of the contribution he has personally made to the activities of the team since joining in October 2014.

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The Howard H Hill Memorial Tankard – Presented to the person or persons that have made a significant contribution to the team over the previous year, was presented to Team Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers Nigel Booth, in the presence of his wife, Sarah.

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This was in recognition of the tremendous contribution Nigel has made to our Rope training, and in his post as Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers.

Garry then went on to present Long Service in Bolton Mountain Rescue Team Certificates to;

Gillian Gregory of Horwich – 10 Years attained in 2014, as a member of our Support Group, and our current Team Secretary and collecting Box Co-ordinator.

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Chris Tennant of Westhoughton – 15 years attained in 2014, during which time he has been a valued Team Council member, including our Base and Catering Officer.

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Robert R Hutchinson – 35 Years attained in 2015, again another former Team Leader, in the early 1980s, a former Deputy Team Leader, Team Chairman – amongst other posts, and MPSRO former long serving Secretary.

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Geoffrey H Seddon of Horwich, – 45 Years attained in 2014, a former Team Leader in the 1970s, very long serving former Deputy Team Leader, and ex MPSRO Chairman.

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‘Official’ events concluded with group photographs, and a barbeque – in still torrential rain!

In total twenty four operational team Call Out list members attended today, alongside fantastic help from Support Group members Gillian Gregory, Iain Clarkson and Sarah Hindle.

DSC_5936Maggie Allred, wife of team Webmaster Paul Brain, is also thanked for her help with catering today.

All six of our Team vehicles were on display alongside our SAR Boat, and of course our Catering Trailer which was used for the barbeque which followed todays events.

The following are extracts from the many kind comments on today which were made in the Teams Base / HQ Guestbook;

“I am truly impressed by the work you do.” Sharman R Birtles JP, DL.

“Keep up the good work of bringing hope to those who find themselves in all kinds of difficulties.” Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton.

“Always great to come to the base and see the friendly faces that I’ve worked with over the years.”Derek Cartwright, NWAS Director of Operations.

“Fantastic, welcoming people you have here.” GMFRS Group Manager, Operational Assurance, Ben Levy,

“Thanks so much for the invitation ; what a lovely day and so nice to see what you and the team all do together.” Nick and Emma Barlow, Edgworth Real Ale Festival.

“Thank you so much for the invite, and taking very good care of me, I feel like the Queen.” Norma Ramm (Team member Gary Melia brought Norma to todays events, whilst Team member Sam McKay took her home)

“We appreciate everything you do. God Bless.” Jim Fletcher BEM.

“Thank you for the fantastic work you all do.” GMP Superintendent Leor Giladi.

“It has been a fantastic day and really highlights the fantastic work that you all do in the community.” Mrs Ruth Doran.

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