A DARTMOOR artist has thanked the team who rescued him when he fell and injured himself while cycling on the moor.

Nick Bennett, a Princetown-based sculptor, has thanked members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue (DSRT) Tavistock for saving his life after meeting them at a Mount Kelly open day at Nun’s Cross Farm.

He said: “It was quite an emotional meeting and although my accident was two years ago, it still lives in my memory and I am still really grateful. One of the guys I met actually helped carry the stretcher over very rocky terrain to the ambulance. They're amazing, especially as they are volunteers.”

Nick fell off his mountain bike on the rocks and broke his ankle, forcing him to crawl to the nearest path where a passing cyclist stopped, made him as comfortable as possible and rushed off to get help from the nearest farm.

Nick said he was aware that he was in danger and tried in vain to message his children for ‘possibly the last time’ but his fingers wouldn't work.

Someone then called 999 and asked for an ambulance and DSRT. DSRT was needed because the path was too rough for an ambulance.

Nick, a founder of Princetown Arts Festival, said: “It all happened when I was cycling on King’s Tor on a wonderfully sunny December day and not dressed for the normal Dartmoor winter. Suddenly the weather changed and a gust of strong wind blew me off the track. I knew I’d broken my ankle, so I crawled to the nearest track and hoped someone would come along to get help.

“I was very lucky for initial help from locals and then the the DSRT.

“The rescue team came very quickly and I remember them carrying me on the stretcher, clambering over the rocky terrain very skilfully, while keeping me strapped on.

“When we got to the ambulance at Yellowmead Farm the paramedic driver told me I was having a heart attack and I’d got to the ambulance just in time to save my life.”

Nick said: "I know this brave team always needs more funding in order to purchase and maintain their vehicles and equipment. If my story of being helped by the search and rescue team results in any kind donations to their cause I would be over the moon."

Paul Hudson, of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Tavistock, said: “We were very happy to have helped Nick and the team did a good job. I was directly involved as well and we were on the scene very quickly. He recovered well and our training was put to good effect.”

The team’s mission is to help police and other organisations find, help and evacuate missing people to safety, being busiest when the weather is bad.  All members are trained in skills ranging from advanced first aid through to navigation, search techniques and radio operation.