It’s taken 50 years but mountain rescue volunteers finally have a home of their own.

Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team (HVMR) has bought outright its first permanent base exactly five decades years after it was founded.

The team launched in 1965 following the tragic deaths of two Scouts on the moors.

The volunteers called a small coach house in Meltham’s Robert Ashton Memorial Park home until 2002 when they moved in with firefighters in Marsden.

In 2007 they hatched a plan to build a purpose built HQ back in the Meltham park.

But when firefighters announced they were to leave the Manchester Road station in 2012, HVMR began talks to purchase the building.

More than £60,000 has been raised by members of the public and local firms and the purchase was formally completed this week, exactly 50 years after the group was founded.

HVMR assistant leader Owen Phillips said it was great that they finally had a dedicated building for decades to come.

“It’s fantastic to have security for the future and ample space to train and store vehicles.

“We’ve also got expansion space for our growing team, which is getting bigger all the time.

“As the team’s role has developed over the years, we have acquired more and more specialist rescue equipment, and having a dedicated building with facilities to store and maintain this equipment is vital.

 

“We also garage and maintain two emergency vehicles which are kept in a state of constant readiness and require extensive facilities to train our members and keep everyone up to speed with the technicalities of rescue, casualty care and the use of specialist equipment and medical supplies.”

The former fire station has been reconfigured to the team’s requirements, providing facilities such as a control room for planning managing incidents, gear storage facilities, a drying room, a kitchen, toilets and a training room with audio-visual facilities, as well as dedicated vehicle bays.

HVMR now has about 90 volunteers with between 35 to 50 on call to go out on rescue missions at all times.

The team now responds to an average of 25 to 30 incidents a year, assisting those injured or in difficulty on the moors and crags, searching for missing persons, evacuating casualties from difficult-to-access locations and providing a vital lifeline to the ambulance service during harsh winter conditions.

They also play an important part of the local civil contingency plans for major incidents and emergency planning.

Although it is primarily concerned with upland and rural areas, the team’s operational boundary covers the southern half of West Yorkshire – an area of over 1,000 square kilometres – including diverse geography ranging in altitude from 7m to 580m above sea level.

It is not uncommon for the team to be called in for searches closer to the area’s metropolitan centres of Leeds, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Dewsbury Pontefract and Castleford, providing vital assistance and expertise to West Yorkshire Police.

The Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team will host an official opening event for the new headquarters building in April.

Find more information on Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team at www.holmevalleymrt.org.uk or follow the team on twitter: @HVMRT or Facebook: www.facebook.com/hvmrt