Put pen to paper and show support to mountain rescue team

Put pen to paper and show support to mountain rescue team

5 December 2018

THE Mourne Mountain Rescue Team is appealing for help in its bid to secure finance to pave the way for its move to a new operations base in the resort.

Last year, supermarket giant Lidl, which is planning to develop a new store at the site of the former St Mary’s Girls’ Primary School in the town, donated a portion of the land to allow the rescue team to finally have a dedicated new centre.

Delighted that its long search for land to build an ultra-modern base was finally over, the team is hoping to raise £500,000 to build the facility which will enable it to enhance the highly professional service it already provides and interact more with the local community.

The volunteers who provide the service — often in the most challenging of conditions — are aiming to secure grant aid. As part of the process, they must demonstrate the need for the team and the service it provides.

This week, the rescue team is asking local people and organisations to show their support for the work they do by sending a letter to secretary@mournemrt.org.

In a Facebook post, the rescue team says it would be “exceptionally grateful” as funders have given the team a very tight deadline for grant application replies which must be with them before tomorrow, December 6.

The team says it is grateful for all the letters it has received to date and for those who continue to donate money towards the work it does, the drive to move to a dedicated new home and those who assist in other ways.

The team has been working tirelessly for a number of years to identify a new base in Newcastle and was thrilled negotiations with Lidl reached a successful conclusion last year, five years after the campaign for a new base was launched to coincide with the team’s 50th anniversary.

The offer of land came after what Lidl described as “extensive engagement and consultation” with the supermarket confident the Shanslieve Drive site offers the rescue team the space it needs to develop a facility that will future proof the lifesaving service it provides.

Lidl’s land offer also came just a few days after the rescue team unveiled new incident command and first response vehicles to increase its capacity to respond to emergencies, including multiple and large scale incidents.

The appeal for people to help secure grant aid comes after the team’s volunteers were called out twice last Sunday.

Team members first went to the assistance of a man who became ill while walking along the Brandy Pad in the heart of the Mournes just after 11am.

Fortunately, the team was training on Spellack in the Trassey Valley at the time and the volunteers were able to respond directly.

When the volunteers arrived, the man was assessed, treated for a suspected cardiac event and stabilised for evacuation.

Due to the man’s condition and his location, an air evacuation was requested. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 helicopter responded and airlifted the man to hospital. A total of 14 members responded and stood down shortly before 3pm.

Ninety minutes later, the rescue team received a request for assistance from the Dublin Wicklow mountain rescue team to assist  an injured conservation worker in Ravensdale Forest in Co Louth.

The man fell whilst inspecting feed boxes located high up in trees, with the local volunteers responding and liaising with their southern counterparts and other emergency services already on scene.

The injured man was assessed and treated before he was evacuated to a waiting ambulance. A total of 11 Mourne Mountain Rescue Team members responded and were stood down shortly before 9pm.