Registered Charity Number 511072 BPMRT is a full member of Mountain Rescue England and Wales
On 25th March 1962 in the fells north of Chipping 3 siblings set out on a day’s walk which was to end in tragedy with the two brothers losing their lives despite their sister raising the alarm.
Mountain Rescue in England was in its formative years, there was no team for miles and no routines or protocols for calling one in to help.
This incident provided the final push for two teams to be created in the Preston area. The first, created by Jim McVeigh and Peter Williams in April 1962, gathered together a number of people to form South Ribble Fell Search and Rescue Team (SRFSRT) based at Cop Lane in Penwortham, Preston. They remained at this location for all of their existence. In contrast, Ross Drysdale believed there was a need for a wider co-ordinating role, an umbrella agency, with contacts and units across Lancashire, Yorkshire and beyond, able to call upon small groups with specific skills; Raynet with radio communications, North West Fell and Mountaineering First Aid Unit etc, and deploy them as each incident dictates. The name of the new group reflected his aspiration, Northern Rescue Organisation (NRO) with Ross as its organiser.
NRO established a unit in Rossendale which in time gained its own autonomy (now Rossendale & Pendle MRT), as for the umbrella organisation that did not materialise. In time it was clear that Preston could not support two mountain rescue teams, it was not the best use of limited resources. This is not to criticize the people involved at the time, things happen and history is history.
Attempts were made as early as 1973 to form closer ties between the two teams but these did not develop. Finally, in 1978, the time was right and a new initiative grew into an amicable plan, including a joint 12 month training programme. This culminated in the amalgamation of SR and NRO into Bowland Pennine MRT on 8th October 1980. Pete Taylor (SR) being the first Team Leader and Paul Hughes (NRO) its first Chair.
BPMRT has now been formed for nearly 40 years. It has grown, developed and owns two substantial properties, one in Garstang and another in Dunsop Bridge. It has 3 LandRovers, a Nissan Navara, a state of the art equipped control vehicle, minibus, GPS personal radios and much more. All this is light years from those early beginnings, but certain requirements do not change: dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of the members. Ross Drysdale, Jim McVeigh and all the former members of NRO and SR should be justifiably proud of their legacy.
NRO was in existence for just less than 18 years and during this time it had; 8 HQ’s all based in Preston, numerous vehicles of all shapes and sizes, weird and wonderful selection of kit and 5 Team Leaders. It had to deal with hardship, little money, the wet, the cold, late nights and on occasions fatalities but there was always the fantastic camaraderie and humour.