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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Gamekeepers praised for vital role in search and rescue missions

A search and rescue team has paid tribute to local gamekeepers for their vital role in helping with missions on the moors.

The moors, the merrier: moorland keepers Anthony Orr, George Thompson
and Bradley Collis at Spaunton Moor .
Their help with rescue work has been vital.

Two-thirds of Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team's calls come from the vast tracts of upland heath so members rely on the expertise of keepers who manage the remote and unforgiving landscapes for grouse shooting.

Last year, the busiest in the organisation’s 50 year history, saw 80 call-outs with some rescues running over a number of days on moorland that is difficult to navigate and access.

Incident controller Ian Hugill said the expansive moors with few identifiable features or landmarks made rescues difficult on many fronts, but harnessing gamekeepers’ unique knowledge and understanding was invaluable.

He added: “They are our eyes and ears and often the last to have seen those who go missing. Their all-terrain vehicles help get us on to the moors and can take casualties to the roadside. We frequently ask for help in opening private gates for our 4x4 ambulance.

“Lack of buildings and shelter on the moors result in hypothermic casualties. It’s not just the injured, but those who have stayed with them that need our assistance.

“Another problem is establishing mobile signal and even if there is one, it’s not easy for people to describe their location. Again, it is the keepers who manage this land that can come to the rescue.”

Owner of Spaunton Moor George Winn-Darley said he was delighted his gamekeepers were able to play such an important role.

He added: “Not only do they help wherever and whenever they are asked, they have also raised over £400 for SRMRT from collections during the last grouse shooting season. We also offered two free shooting opportunities in their charity auction, which brought in another £1,000.

“We are acutely aware of our pivotal role and are very proud to help. The mountain rescue team spent several days on the estate in November searching for the body of a missing person, who was eventually found by a keeper.

"I am indebted to George Thompson and his under-keepers Anthony Orr and Bradley Collis for all their support."

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