Maroon 5: MemoriesiTunesAmazon

Maroon 5: MemoriesiTunesAmazon

Major milestone for Dales rescuers

Major milestone for Dales rescuers

Published at 6:01am 20th August 2017. (Updated at 2:42pm 20th August 2017)

Volunteers from Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) are celebrating a major milestone.

They have just rescued their 1,500th person, who suffered a serious leg injury whilst out walking near Litton.

62-year-old Graham Sugden, from Campsall near Doncaster, had been enjoying a short break with his wife at The Falcon Inn in Arncliffe.

The team had to administer painkillers before placing Graham on a stretcher and carrying him down the fell to an ambulance.

He said: ''What a relief it was to see the 'cavalry' coming over the hill to the rescue in the form of a dozen members from the fell rescue team. So professional and understanding of our predicament, caring with my injury.

"The experience of sledging down the fell strapped to a stretcher with a broken ankle in a splint will stay with me for a long time.

"I can't thank them all enough and I am looking forward to being recovered, so I can accept their offer of a visit to their headquarters in Grassington to meet them all again and to have a tour of the building.''

The volunteers have had many other milestones in their 69-year history, including two Royal visits and rescuing their 50th dog last year.

Times have certainly changed for the team since they formed in 1948, when they had just seven call-outs which involved missing walkers, stranded climbers, a dog, some sheep, two cows in a mineshaft and the sad task of retrieving two bodies from a light aircraft crash.

Call-outs for today's team are now approaching 60 each year.

This is a national trend, with a study by Ordnance Survey showing that teams in England and Wales dealt with 1,812 incidents last year, which is an increase of 170 from the previous year.

360 of those call-outs were serious or fatal.

Figures also reveal that there were only 14 days in the year without a mountain rescue call-out somewhere.

The survey suggested that possibly 500 of the call-outs could have been avoided.

Derek Hammond, from UWFRA, said: ''Our own survey shows a much lower percentage and we attribute some of this to the awareness of visitors to the safety measures generated from the tremendous support the team is given by the local press and media.

"Our conclusion for many of the call-outs was sheer bad luck, but of course we totally agree with the survey that ongoing initiatives are needed to educate people on the steps they should take to ensure they enjoy the Dales, but avoid becoming another mountain rescue statistic.''