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Sunday, 17 January 2021 17:59

Callouts for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton more than doubled in 2020.

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Callouts for Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Ashburton more than doubled in 2020. 

New figures show a 58% rise in the number of shouts for the voluntary team who are relied on by the emergency services for searching and technical rescues among other expertise. 

August was the teams busiest month with 10 callouts. 28 incidents were on Dartmoor National Park, 16 in other rural environments and a further five were in an urban setting. 

The team supported the ambulance service on nine occasions, including offering a technical rope rescue for a seriously injured climber. They also responded to the recent flooding in Notter helping evacuate residents from their homes. 

The more ‘routine’ callouts included searching for injured walkers on the moor and others who misjudged their navigation abilities. 

Alongside the significant rise in call outs, the team is contending with a 50 percent loss in fundraising. The pandemic has forced the cancellation of some of the charity’s most popular events such as the Templer Way walk and the guided night walks on the Moor.

Team Leader, Keith Lambeth, said: “The increase in callouts for the last year have not just been in terms of quantity, but also in terms of technical complexity and duration. It is a testament to the professional nature of our training and the commitment of our members that this has been possible.

“The past 12 months have seen us carry out searches that have lasted more than three days, technical rescues on steep and vertical ground, rescue of injured people in difficult terrain as well as flood rescue and searching. All alongside our more usual work of large area searching.

“In this time of lockdown we are very grateful to all those who are supporting us financially through fundraising as well as our friends and families who make it possible for us to attend callouts day and night. 

“Above all we are grateful to those of you who are staying safe and staying local for your daily exercise. Your sacrifice is helping the team avoid increasing their exposure to COVID meaning that we are able to respond to emergencies such as the flooding at new year.

“Carry on staying safe and we look forward to seeing you on the hill in happier times.”

Despite the Covid pandemic the team have remained available to those in need throughout the year. 


Radio Devon 15th January 2021 - Search Manager on Breakfast with Gordon Sparks - Interview starts at 07:41 (1:41 into programme) 

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Charity Number: 1106098.