Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW), the body representing all volunteer rescue teams, has today launched a short film highlighting the work they carry out. 'Mountain Rescue Film 15' stars real search and rescue volunteers in a range of different dramatised situations, emphasising their commitment and expertise, and their reliance on the public for moral and financial support.
Whether it is a dog search in the rainy fells or a technical crag rescue, looking for a missing person in an urban park or getting a woman in labour to hospital, the range of situations in the film reflects the breadth of the rescue teams' remit.
The film is designed to raise public awareness of their work, and of course money. To achieve this the core message running through it is a simple one - that volunteers are only ordinary people, but that when the pager goes off they have to put normal life on hold.
'There’s been a demand for more images and film about mountain rescue for quite a while' said Mike France, Chairman of MREW, 'and the growth in social media means that we should be able to spread the word about this film to thousands of people and make a really positive impact. With links, connections and sharing online, we are offering people — already active supporters or not — a great chance to find out more about what we do and how we work.'
Judy Whiteside, editor of Mountain Rescue Magazine, took the lead on the project.
'We knew that we needed to keep to a couple of strong but simple messages' she said.
'We wanted to show real rescuers, reacting to a wide range of realistic situations and we wanted to emphasise that they are all volunteers by showing them being called away from work, family commitments and sleep! That sounds quite simple but we also wanted to create something that people would want to watch and share and something that would have a fundraising as well as an educational impact.'
'I think we’ve created something that will really reinforce the value of our volunteer service and also make it clear that we rely on public support. That’s what we set out to do from the very beginning of the project and it is going to be exciting watching that message as it spreads online in the coming months.'
The film’s producer and co-director Dave Freeborn is not only a member and ex-team leader of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, but a professional film and documentary maker and member of the Institute of Videographers too.
The film was shot over 2014 at more than 12 different locations, with ten or so different MR teams and partners.
'The schedule included a huge amount of negotiation and liaison with what seemed like hundreds of people' said Dave Freeborn.
'There was filming from a UAV (or drone) in Borrowdale... editing in underground rescue footage from the Mendips in Somerset, creating music and the voice over and, in all, about 20 days of filming in all weathers – all to create just six minutes of dramatic footage.'
The voiceover by Matthew Gravelle, who recently starred in the ITV drama Broadchurch, was recorded in both English and Welsh languages to reflect MREW membership.
'All the team members involved with the filming were incredibly enthusiastic and keen to make this work, despite already volunteering so much of their time to mountain rescue' said Dave Freeborn.
'I hope it will prove well worth it and raise public awareness and money for mountain rescue. But I also hope it will help us to explain the range of what we are trained to do, the skills and expertise that we have and how we might be able to use those skills to help in other situations too.'
- Mountain Rescue Film 15 is available to watch now on MREW's website.
- Donations to MREW can be made either by texting RESQ41, followed by the amount of the donation, to 70070; or via Justgiving.