Four-legged heroes: Meet Wynn, the K9 member of Calder Valley Search and Rescue
Jordan Baker, VSI Alliance, writes: The team is made up of over 70 unpaid volunteers operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year working alongside local emergency services to provide that much-needed help to those in need.
CVRST specialise in multiple fields such as search and rescue planning and management, medical treatment, technical steep ground and crag rescue, night and adverse weather search and rescue, specialist air scenting search dogs and swift water/flood rescue.
The team was originally set up in 1966 after the disappearance of Robert Akrigg, a 55-year-old reservoir keeper who had left his home in Gorple to check the water gauges during a snowstorm and had not returned.
Local farmers, police, water board and mountain and fell rescue team members from across the north of England searched tirelessly, but unfortunately were unsuccessful in their efforts.
After the winter months had passed, Mr Akrigg’s body was sadly discovered.
As a result, it was then decided the Calder Valley would set up its own dedicated rescue team to ensure the safety and secure retrieval of individuals who may become stranded.
In 1977, CVSRT began working with man’s best friend, dogs.
Over the years, 15 dogs and ten handlers have assisted the team with searches throughout the Calder Valley and further afield, using their incredibly sensitive sense of smell to scan the air for human scent, a highly valuable resource for the team when it comes to searching for missing persons.
There are approximately 8.5 million dogs in the UK, of which only 0.001 per cent are trained as Search and Rescue dogs. https://mountainrescuesearchdogsengland.org.uk/about/
Wynn, an eight-year-old border collie who completed her training in January 2019, works alongside her owner and handler David Warden on search and rescue missions.
David said: “We enhance our search ability by using dogs.
"They are of particular value at night or in bad conditions, because a dog doesn’t need to be able to see a missing person, it can pick it up by scent.
“Wynn has been known to pick up a scent from 600 metres, she’ll pick up the scent from behind trees, in quarries, and in some cases underwater.
"They are a great asset to the team.”
Wynn is David’s third MRSDE-graded (Mountain Rescue Search Dogs England) dog and has proven to be a loyal and trustworthy companion.
If you would like to see Wynn in action, VSI Alliance team members Jordan and Sameea joined CVSRT for a training session upon NorlandMoor, you can watch it online at http://www.vsialliance.org.uk/post/community-journalist/CVSRT
Undoubtedly, the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team is a vital service for our local community, surpassing 80 call-outs a year.
It costs the team £50,000+ a year to remain fully operational, they do not receive any direct government funding to support their life-saving skills and expertise and rely solely on fundraising and donations.
If you would like to support the team, visit their website http://www.cvsrt.org.uk