The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association column with David Dennis

Sir Gary Verity at the official opening of the much-needed headquarters extension. Image: Stephen Garnett Photography.
Sir Gary Verity at the official opening of the much-needed headquarters extension. Image: Stephen Garnett Photography.

Inspirational is how Sir Gary Verity the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire described the team’s work as he unveiled a plaque to officially open our revamped headquarters in Grassington.

The much-needed extension and revamping of our existing building had taken many years of fundraising and planning, and as experienced by many other organisations, it had been a case of trying to get and keep the fundraising ahead of the ever increasing building costs.

Prince Charles back in June 1978.

Prince Charles back in June 1978.

More than 100 invited guests attended ranging from existing members and families, representatives of all the emergency services we work so closely with, fellow rescuers from other Yorkshire teams, members of the local authorities and the companies who did the building work.

It was also special to welcome four of our life members who had plenty of tales to tell about how it used to be in their day.

It was our second plaque, the first one having been unveiled by Prince Charles back in June 1978 when the original building was formally opened.

Since then we have had three extensions to house the vehicles,trailers and to provide space for training. Before unveiling the plaque, Sir Gary was given a tour of the building as well as being shown some of our latest high tech equipment and meeting many of our members.

The new plaque has been placed immediately below the one Prince Charles unveiled and in his speech Sir Gary commented that he was of course not as prestigious as the last person to open the building adding that the emergency rescues we performed were vital for both those who lived in the area and to visitors, describing the work as simply inspirational.

He added that as a farmer, he was well aware of the role we did in helping not just people in trouble throughout the year and in every kind of weather, but also animals.

Part of our display was a large spread of newspaper cuttings covering the many rescues we have found ourselves in over the years and it was also very pleasing to demonstrate to the visitors the major role the Advertiser series and other newspapers and media play in championing our work.

Our largest fundraising event the Wharfedale Three Peaks is now in its sixth year and is due to take part on the last Saturday in June. Entries are open at the uwfra.org.uk website.