VOLUNTEERS from Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) demonstrated their skills to local politicians and emergency service leaders earlier this month, with a simulated cliff rescue and a boat trip.

SARA chairperson and rope rescue instructor, Mark Carwardine, said of the cliff rescue: “The scenario was an injured climber at Woodcroft Quarry, near Chepstow. The casualty, in reality a specialist rescue dummy, had fallen from Fly Wall and broken his leg, and his climbing partner had phoned for help.

“An initial response team from SARA arrived quickly and lowered a qualified casualty carer, with a large medical pack, down to the casualty. As more team members arrived, another carer was lowered down to help, followed by a stretcher.

“After being stabilised at the bottom of the cliff, the casualty was raised up in the stretcher, and then carried to a simulated ambulance near the main road.”

The demonstration was attended by the senior leadership of Mountain Rescue England and Wales together with representatives of Gloucestershire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Cave Rescue Group, Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue and South West England Rescue Association, together with Nick Evans from Tidenham Parish Council (TPC).

“The day was very successful and has done much to further the

interoperability between SARA and other key local agencies,” Mark added. “It went very well, with all the observers more than satisfied by what they had seen

“The SARA Team received a number of minor, but useful comments and suggestions, and a couple of challenges to help them to refine their skills. My thanks to all involved, particularly to those who travelled long distances to attend.”

Forest MP Mark Harper visited the SARA Beachley Lifeboat and Rescue Station and received a briefing on SARA’s recent activities, including the large increase in missing person searches which the team conducts. Mr Harper last visited in 2015, when he commissioned the new SARA Lifeboat 1 The Jim Hewitt.

After a tour of the rescue station, the MP, together with his office manager Ben Stone and TPC’s Nick Evans, enjoyed a ride in the large lifeboat. Coxswain Ian Blayney took them down to the Second Severn Crossing, and Mr Harper was allowed to drive the lifeboat back upstream for a period, before they headed up the Wye to Chepstow.

Mr Harper said: “The dedicated SARA volunteers play an important role in the safety of people in and around my constituency. I am always pleased to support them and I very much enjoyed my recent visit, which included a tour of the station followed by a demonstration of the capabilities of one of their lifeboats.”

The SARA land search team was called out to the Cinderford area on Saturday, April 6, to support Gloucestershire Police with a missing person search.

The woman was located in the forest by a police helicopter just as the first SARA team was being briefed to go out on foot.

SARA volunteers are always on call to come to the aid of anyone in difficulties on the cliffs or steep ground in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean and can regularly be seen training at Wintours Leap or Symonds Yat.

To support the work of the SARA Team, go to www.sara-rescue.org.uk/donate, or visit the Beachley Station on a Thursday evening.