Mar Tuesday 15 2016
Way back in July 1985 the Bolton MRT took delivery of a brand new Bell Mark 2 model, Mountain Rescue Stretcher from Peter Bell Mountain Rescue Stretchers.
This Bell Stretcher replaced at the time our Rigid Thomas Mountain Rescue Stretcher, with which the team had been operating with since the late 1960s.
The (at the time) substantial purchase cost of this new Bell Stretcher was made possible by a very kind donation from the West Lancashire Lodge of Freemasons.
In 1994 this stretcher was upgraded by Peter Bell to a near Mark 3 standard – the latest model at the time, by the addition of a Mark 3 model Standard head guard.
At this same time in 1994, a Mark 3 backpack / back frame system was also added.
Throughout all its sterling years of service with us, be it on innumerable exercises and operational incidents, this Bell Mark 2 (Modified – as we referred to it) has been sent back regularly to Peter Bell and latterly Lyon Equipment Limited, for servicing and the issuing of a new Test Certificate at every service.
At some point in its history, and unknown to us in Bolton MRT, Peter Bell started naming some of his stretchers, and it was only in November 2014 we found out ours had been named ‘Hannah,’ indeed carrying such hidden away within the stretcher framework.
Alas time has moved on, and regardless of the excellent condition we have maintained this stretcher in, and a full service history, one careful owner history, all service logbooks up to date, sadly it can no longer be certified and passed for use, and so our Bell Mark 2 (modified) Mountain Rescue Stretcher, ‘Hannah,’ has had to be retired in the last week, after serving the team – and of course the casualties it has carried over the years! for a front line “always available for duty” period of 30 years and 8 months.
It will now be hung on the wall of our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ alongside our now long retired Rigid Thomas and Split Thomas Mountain Rescue Stretchers, to remind newer generations of Bolton MRT members what the past was like!
A replacement Bell Mountain Rescue Stretcher has been purchased to take the place of this venerable old team member.