On Saturday July 13 Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team hosted a sunny day out for several children's charities. In all about 160 people were involved.
Each year mountain rescuers hold an event that brings together children and families from several charities with a connection to Prince William, Patron of Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) - last year's was at Keswick (see UKH here).
Mike France from MREW explains:
'For the last five years, different regions of Mountain Rescue have organised a day of outdoor activities for young people from several associated charities. This year, these were Centrepoint, which provides accommodation services for socially excluded homeless young people, WellChild, which supports children and families in managing the consequences of serious illness and the Child Bereavement Charity, which supports families affected by the loss of a child or children suffering bereavement.'
This year it was the turn of Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team, with help from the other five teams in North East England. The event was held in and around the team's base at Great Ayton in North Yorkshire.
'Planning for the day has been underway for over a year' says Cleveland MRT Deputy Team Leader, Carl Faulkner.
'We managed to arrange accommodation and a wide selection of activities suitable for all the different age groups, abilities and agilities of the children, young people and families and everyone – more than 25 children and young people in all - seems to have had a great time.'
Cleveland MRT was supported on the day by members of the North of Tyne, Northumberland National Park, Scarborough and Ryedale, Swaledale and Teesdale and Weardale teams as well as RAF Leeming MRT and members of the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA). Activities included bushcraft, a visit to a mine at Kildale and demonstrations of search and rescue techniques as well as orienteering and abseiling.
'Lunchtime back at Great Ayton was a bit special too' explains Carl Faulkner, 'as many of the local emergency services that we work with on a regular basis also joined in. Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross from North Yorkshire Police, who is also the president of the North East Search and Rescue Association, led the involvement of all the Police and Ambulance services from the region. We had a visit from an RAF Sea King helicopter from Leaconfield, police dog and Scene of Crime Officer demonstrations, a visit from the local Fire and Rescue Service (complete with sirens and flashing lights) and five SARDA dogs – who always steal any limelight. The younger children, in particular, loved the search dogs.'
Hannah Bemand, WellChild's family coordinator, said:
'This is the second time I've been lucky enough to attend this annual event. It would be great if all our staff could see for themselves what a great day this is for the children. It is so different for these children and their families - an opportunity they will not get anywhere else and they have had a great day out.'
One of the support workers from Child Bereavement, who lost her parents when she was young, added: 'If there had been something like this at the time, it would have given me something else to think about. Thank you all of you - the children have loved it.'
And the last word from Cleveland MRT's Carl Faulkner:
'Everyone involved, about 160 people in all, was there on a voluntary basis to make this a great day for all the children, young people and their carers and families. Their obvious enjoyment and excitement was the best thanks possible and I'd like to thank all the local businesses who also contributed to making this such a fantastic occasion.'