Andrew Allmark Interview

What area of employment are you in?

The day job, as they say, involves driving around the North of England looking at commercial buildings. I’m a Chartered Building Surveyor, so in my role I look at everything from specific defects to whole buildings, and advise clients on a number of property matters including leases, property strategies, and increasingly, sustainability. The old cliché of no two days being the same is true in my role. I could be on a roof near Carlisle, then looking at a basement in Stoke, or commenting on an Energy Performance Certificate from my desk.

What is your role in the team?

As a voluntary organisation, to operate smoothly, we all tend to have a number of roles within the team. I am an “operational” team member, which means I attend call-outs (rescues and searches). I have also undertaken extra medical training in order to be able to treat casualties.  I am trained in techniques used in searching for missing persons.  Away from actual call-outs the team has a lot of logistics to deal with in order to remain functional. I have a role, as part of a group, in helping look after our equipment.

What do the roles of Assistant Team Leader and Equipment Officer involve?

Both roles are completely separate. The Assistant Team Leader role is more operational. There are a number of us who lead the team on a rota basis. When it’s our duty we’re either leading on a call out, liaising with Police or the Ambulance Service, updating the team on the nature of the call-outs, and coordinating our vehicles and team. The Equipment Officer role is more in the shadows, making sure we are on top of our equipment maintenance, but also, with a colleague, looking after team clothing and PPE.

How long have you been a member of Bolton MRT?

Gosh. This is my 7th year.  My initial application was in December 2017 with training through the whole of 2018, before our final assessment in March 2019, after which I became part of the Operational Team.

Why did you join mountain rescue?

I’ve always been the active, outdoors type.  The day job also involves time outdoors so I was drawn to the role.  I suppose no one thing drew me to volunteering as a rescuer, especially with the notion of going up a hill when everyone else has come down and is sat in a warm pub. But it’s the feeling of being part of a team and helping those who need it that drives us. I think it’s part of who we all are who undertake the role.

What skills & attributes do you think are important for someone to be a successful volunteer member of a mountain rescue team?

That’s tough. Erm – I’m not sure there is one stand out attribute. If pushed I’d say a strong sense of wanting to help out. A lot of us have been outdoors types most our life and tend to want to give something back. A strong sense of humour does help, and an ability not to take yourself too seriously!

When you’re not volunteering for the team, do you have any hobbies?

Genuinely between work and volunteering, I’d opt for doing little as possible. But more so lately I find myself still on the hills, walking the dog, or even off camping somewhere.

What have been your most memorable moments during your time with the team?

I couldn’t narrow this down.  Maybe, from a crazy funny point of view, our training in Scotland with 20+ of us all trying to learn winter skills on the only bit of snow on the hill no bigger than a tennis court.  Or maybe the way we’ve all come together as a team. We’re a varied bunch but we get on and that’s memorable in its own right