Two active team members from the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association have been awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals for their service to the group.
The association’s patron, Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, on Friday, September 7, at the Wharfedale Rugby Club in Grassington.
Two members of the 70 strong team were further honoured when, to their surprise, they were called forward to receive 50 year service certificates from Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
Retired teacher Howard Driver has served as Chairman and Warden for the club. He said: “It is a privilege and an honour for our service to be acknowledged.
“It has been tough at times, but the team has always come together in difficult times.”
Paul Reinsch, also a retired teacher from Greenhow, started volunteering with the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association when he was still a schoolboy.
He said: “There were no health and safety age restrictions back then, so I must have only been about 14 when I started.”
Paul is also a key member of the Grassington Outdoors Club for young people, which has been running for 10 years. He said: “We teach them everything they need to learn about mountaineering and caving in the hope that at 18 they will join the Fell Rescue Association.”
After 50 years Paul said he feels it is time to start scaling back his commitments and make more room on the team for young people.
“It has to happen because at the moment there are too many old men, the team looks like Dad’s Army,” he added/
The team conducts surface and underground rescues and is the third oldest mountain rescue team in the country and celebrated its 64th anniversary last month. Earlier in the year it reached its 1,000th call-out.
All members are volunteers and the team does not receive any formal funding towards its annual running costs currently standing at £35,000.