TAVISTOCK’S Dartmoor Search and Rescue team demonstrated how brand new equipment will be deployed in emergency call-outs, thanks to almost £10,000 in fundraising and donations by local supporters.

Members of the charity’s 42-strong volunteer team deployed a £4,500 lightweight titanium stretcher, plus new ropes and pulleys costing around £5,000, in an all-action showcase held at Burrator Reservoir to thank donors for their generosity.

The demonstration took place on Saturday morning, less than 24-hours before volunteers based at Ashburton were called out to rescue a couple and their dog in difficulty near Bellever.

The new kit will enable the Tavistock-based rescue team to negotiate rescues in steeper and more challenging terrain and circumstances – including rivers in spate – with supporters responding to an appeal begun earlier this year to help cover the costs. The lightweight stretcher replaces a heavier model that had to be rooftop-mounted on rescue vehicles, but the new stretcher can be transported inside the 4x4s and also airlifted by helicopter crew.

Organising the event was the team’s ropework lead, Andy Wrayford, who said that the new equipment would not only help save lives, but better safeguard rescue volunteers. ‘It means improvements for the team in terms of capability, efficiency and safety,’ he said.

The Tavistock-based team is one of four volunteer search and rescue teams based across Dartmoor. The charity relies on the local suppport to cover basic running costs of around £15,000 a year, as well as generous donors rallying to the rescue when other investment is vitally needed.

Fundraising is set to begin to cover the cost of improvements to the Dartmoor Search and Rescue base at Abbey Rise in Tavistock, as well as replacement rescue vehicles.

Donors and fundraisers invited to the thank you demonstration day included members of The Lions Club of Tavistock, Lodge of Benevolence No.666, Princetown, Pam Coxwell, Pat Eslick in memory of Steve Eslick, The Rotary Club of Yelverton, The Tavistock Outdoor Education Forum, Tavistock Round Table and supporters who donated in memory of former rescue group member Theo Bird.

A grateful Andy Wrayford said: ‘All of our work depends on charitable donations and donations like this are really important to us.’