Landmark year for mountain volunteer Paul

Paul Durham
Paul Durham

A dedicated volunteer is celebrating his 40th year with local mountain rescue teams.

In 1974, Paul Durham spotted an article in the Lancashire Evening Post, seeking volunteers for the South Ribble Mountain Rescue Team - which was later to amalgamate to form Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue, based in Barnacre, near Garstang.

Paul said:“I recall ringing the team leader and saying I’d be interested in joining the team. ‘Great stuff’, was his reply, ‘Come along next Wednesday.’”

Paul has since taken part in an incredible 2,500 rescues over the years, often assisting stricken walkers in difficult to reach places.

Paul and his team of fellow volunteers has been involved in a wider array of incidents that emergency services on four wheels would struggle to reach.

He said: “I can remember an agricultural foot and mouth outbreak we were called to.

“What we did had nothing to do with rescuing missing people. “

Paul has also had a part to play in the rescue following a number of high profile emergency incidents.

He said: “Our attendance at the Morecambe Bay Chinese cockling tragedy, Virgin trains Greyrigg derailment, Cumbrian floods and shootings stick in my mind.”

Whenever the recognised emergency services are in need of extra manpower, communications or 4 x 4 off road transport - particularly in wintery or snowy conditions -the mountain rescue volunteers are often called in to help.

Paul said: “Some things have changed beyond recognition in this time, whilst others are still the same.

“Communications, medical, and clothing equipment have improved tremendously but the dedication, social conscience and spirit of a volunteer service remains at the heart of it.”