The “Red” Jacket – Neil’s story…………

In the second of our interviews with people who have joined the team and been awarded their “Red Jacket”, on completion of months of training, we catch up with Neil Waterhouse on how he came to join Buxton Mountain Rescue Team.

As said previously, 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 an 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, for some reason needs our help. 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.

With the above in mind, and with a number of people joining the team we thought it would be good to share with you, some of the personal stories of newer members.

We asked them for a bit of their background and why they wanted to join the mountain rescue team?

Here’s Neil’s story………

In May 2017 I retired from Staffordshire Police as a Detective Sergeant, having completed 30 years’ service, the majority of which was involved in the investigation of serious criminal offences.

I am also a qualified Mountain Leader and now work as a freelance outdoor instructor working with groups throughout the UK, and much of my time is now spent outside helping others to enjoy our beautiful outdoors. I am also a volunteer instructor with the Air Cadets at Leek 60 squadron, where I run the DofE scheme and outdoor activities.

I have had a passion for the outdoors and the environment since I was a young boy having grown up on an RSPB nature reserve. I’m sure this gave me a passion for walking, climbing and mountaineering which I have done throughout the UK, Europe, including northern Spain, and further afield including Chile, Argentina and Ecuador.

I had been harbouring a desire to join a Mountain Rescue Team for a number of years, and so in September 2017, I took the plunge and started my journey with Buxton Mountain Rescue Team This introduced me to a fantastic group of people.

In October 2018 I completed the first part (interesting referred to as “Part 1”) of my training. The important part of this was that I was added to the call out list and could now respond to call outs.

In June 2019 I completed my “Part 2” training, which has been tough and testing and it has introduced me to many new skills; working with helicopters, lots of medical skills, steep ground and crag stretcher rescues to name a few. The training is definitely far more comprehensive than I envisaged when I first applied to join the team; it has to be, we’re dealing with peoples lives!  I have to say though, being part of this team is so incredibly rewarding.

I was scheduled for my final interview with the Team Leader and one of his deputies after a busy training night at the Roaches. I’d prepared as much as I could have, and was summoned into the control vehicle for the interview.

I thought I’d done really well during the interview and I was duly told I’d passed my final interview and had become a full operational member of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team and was presented with the coveted red jacket, an amazingly proud moment for me and my family.

However, this is only a small part of my journey; as the training and learning continues (e.g. casualty care exams beckon), all whilst balancing family, work and responding to call outs. But you know what, being a member of this team  is so rewarding, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Leave a comment