Chairman marks half-century of Dartmoor Rescue Group

Posted on: 3 July 2018

Civic leaders from across Devon celebrated half-a-century of the Dartmoor Rescue Group (DRG) at County Hall.

The Chair of Devon County Council, Caroline Chugg, hosted a civic reception to honour the outstanding work of the group’s volunteers.

Councillor Chugg was joined by the Chairman of the DRG Alec Collyer MBE, the Deputy Lieutenant Lady Arran, Devon’s High Sherriff Mrs Grania Tiffany Phillips and the mayors of Ashburton, Okehampton, Tavistock and Plymouth.

Other guests included representatives from the emergency services, Lt Col David Marino RM Bailiff of the Duchy of Cornwall and Bill Hitchins, the Chairman of Dartmoor National Park.

Together they marked the DRG’s 50th birthday and celebrated its achievements – the event also gave attendees the chance to find out more about what they do and personally thank those who are on standby around the clock to help those in need.

Part of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, the Dartmoor Rescue Group was formed in 1968 when a small group of local moorland enthusiasts started helping the police with search and rescue on Dartmoor.

Over 50 years the service has evolved and now it boasts around 200 volunteers – they are professionally trained in searching, navigation, casualty care, search dog handling and swift water rescues.

They find the lost, missing, injured and vulnerable; not just within the 365-square mile-area of Dartmoor, but also across South and East Devon. The area extends to the coast, includes urban areas such as Torbay and Exeter and into Cornwall.

The service is divided into four search and rescue teams, Plymouth, Ashburton, Tavistock and Okehampton. Volunteers, representing all four teams attended the reception and were on hand to showcase the specialist aspects of their rescue work and answer questions.

All four teams are registered charities and rely on fundraising and donations for most of their income, with volunteers coming from many different professions including A&E consultants, social care workers, electronics engineers, teachers and builders.

Councillor Chugg said: “The service is a vital life-line for many across Dartmoor and

Cllr Caroline Chugg

South Devon. The work the volunteers do is highly valued by police and residents from all areas that use the countryside and they do it all for nothing. The DRG gives users peace of mind because they know that they are there if they need them.
“They have made a significant contribution to Devon and have helped saved the lives of the stranded, the lost and the vulnerable for 50 years. They have my sincere thanks and appreciation for the selfless bravery they show in saving others in sometimes adverse conditions.”

Alec Collyer, MBE, Chairman of the DRG said: “I’m proud to have been involved with the group for 42 of the 50 years the Dartmoor Rescue Group has been in operation.
“During that time the group’s teams have taken part in countless rescues, and without volunteer search and rescue teams like ours the emergency services would not have the resources to devote to the search and rescue of those who are missing.
“Thank you for to all the support and here’s to another 50 years!”

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