The Red Jacket………

Becoming a member of a voluntary mountain rescue team is something that cannot be taken lightly; it is a huge personal commitment, and you will need the support and understanding of family, friends and people around you.

It is however and extremely rewarding and satisfying “thing” to do. There can be no greater satisfaction over knowing that today, or indeed any point since joining the team, that you and your fellow team members will turn out, in all kinds of weather, at any time of the day to help someone who has slipped, tripped, fallen, suffered an injury or medical episode; or is lost or for some  reason, cannot get home, safely from their day out in the great outdoors. Team members turn out to help, because that’s what you joined for. That person will probably be a stranger, and more likely than not, you probably may not meet again.

Training to become a full team member with Buxton Mountain Rescue Team can take up 20 months, and after that, you’re always learning more as training, call outs and your mountain rescue involvement becomes second nature to you.

With the above in mind, and with a number of people joining the team and progressing through their training, we thought it would be good to share with you, some of the personal stories of members, who, over the past few months have completed their training and attained full team member status

They have been asked what made them want to join mountain rescue?

We kick off these articles with a profile of Clare Holdcroft, who was presented with her Red Jacket in June.

Clare’s story……….

I joined Buxton Mountain Rescue Team in January 2018. I took a career change in late 2017, which meant I had more spare time. My partner was already a member of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team, so I had seen first hand the dedication, professionalism and team work of the mountain rescue volunteers. I’d inadvertently attended a couple of call outs when we had been out and about in the Peak District and the pager went off, so I knew what was likely to be involved.

I’ve been into the outdoors since I was a teenager and have always got personal satisfaction from helping others. I felt that joining mountain rescue was an opportunity for me to give something back to the outdoor community. I realised I have a range of skills that would be welcome in the team, and that being only 5ft tall didn’t matter! In fact it’s been beneficial at times as I have been able to squeeze into some tight spaces on a couple of rescues!

The training over the months has been constant. When not training, there’s other things to do behind the scenes such as equipment maintenance, and of course fund raising events to attend. The training and development in all things mountain rescue was intense, but fun! Completing Part 1 of the log book, which got me onto the call-out list, provided me with the opportunity to put into action what I had been taught. Working to complete Part 2 of the log book progressed well, but I knew there was the dreaded interview with the Team Leader to follow at the end!

The evening of my final interview was a team training exercise in Miller’s Dale. I had one final item in my log book that was required to be signed-off before the interview would take place. I needed to complete the role of Section Leader on an exercise. I wasn’t sure whether this would happen on the night or not. It did!

After the team’s debriefing of the exercise, I was called back into the control vehicle. Not only was I to be interviewed by the Team Leader, he had also brought along one of his deputies too. This was it; it was now or never.

I have to admit, I was a more than a little nervous leading up to the final interview. I’d had a chat with my mentor and a few other members about what to expect so knew there could be questions asked on anything I been involved in over the preceding months in my time as a trainee! I’d hoped I was fully prepared, but I wanted to perform well and to not let myself down. 

I certainly was asked a range of questions and responded as best as I could. The training has been a huge learning curve, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I know it’s only the very beginning really and the learning will continue through gaining more experience ‘on-the-job’. At the end, I was glad (and also relieved) that the interview went well, and I’d passed the final interview.

I came out of the control vehicle, so pleased and happy with what I’d just achieved; I’d attained full team membership of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team.

Once the congratulatory hand shakes were over, I headed straight to the pub for the usual post-training socialisation. I was so excited to tell the others that I’d had my final interview. I must have been grinning like a Cheshire cat! 

I was still buzzing when I got home! Darren was working away so I sent him a brief message to say I’d had my final interview and all had gone well. He responded with a congratulatory message back.

An email was circulated later that evening by Neil, the Team Leader, to the rest of the team informing all of my fellow team members that I’d passed my Part 2 interview. It was lovely to receive congratulatory messages back.

The very next day, I responded to my first call-out as a full team member to help an injured mountain biker who had come off his bike near Bakewell. I attended, of course, proudly wearing my Red Jacket.

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