Shropshire Star

Put through their paces

New recruits to West Mercia Search and Rescue have been getting put through their paces as they train to become fully fledged members of the team.

Photo courtesy of WMSAR

16 volunteers spent Saturday and Sunday last weekend trekking around Stiperstones as they completed an intense navigation course that will be invaluable to them when they are called out to assist in real emergencies.

West Mercia SAR training officer Stuart Ellen said: "We have 25 new recruits and 16 of them were on the hills over the weekend.

"They were doing navigation training, which is a requirement to be able to pass on and become operational later on.

"They all passed their Bronze navigation level. It is quite an intense course, and it is a great standardisation tool. Some volunteers are quite outdoorsy and are used to using maps and compasses, but others have only used their phones so they had to learn.

"Some will now go on to do Silver and Gold levels, but the Bronze is what they need to complete."

Currently there are around 60 volunteers for the WMSAR, and as the organisation is entirely run by volunteers with jobs of their own, a fresh injection of staff will be a massive help when emergencies arise.

Stuart added: "It means that with a call out we can potentially have another team out searching. It just means more boots on the ground, and we can cover more ground."

The SAR has two bases, one in Bridgnorth and another in Kidderminster. The recruits' training is expected to be complete between March and May this year, so West Mercia Search and Rescue could see its ranks substantially bolstered in the space of a few months.

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