John, who is based at the Daresbury Laboratory, has volunteered with Cheshire Search and Rescue since 2015. As well as searching for missing people and extracting casualties (injured or deceased) from locations that the Ambulance Service cannot get to, the Cheshire team also support the community running awareness and risk-prevention events.
The Cheshire Search and Rescue team, pictured with their medals (left). The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal (right).
Training for his role as a Search Technician is multi-faceted and involves the safe operation around water, a variety of search techniques, operating on steep ground, stretcher work, trauma first aid and navigation. The team builds on the strengths of any individual skills the members have, so John teaches navigation as a Mountain Leader and Navigation Instructor. His experience and training as a Mental Health and Suicide First Aider for STFC provides extra mental resilience to the less savoury duties like body recovery, as well as giving an insight into likely behaviour of missing persons, many of whom suffer from some form of mental illness.
John leaping into the water in full rescue gear during a training exercise to 'save' a colleague.
John is, naturally, delighted that he and his colleagues have been recognised for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee award. He says, “It is very gratifying that Lowland Rescue teams have been recognised at this level for the first time and have been collectively honoured alongside our volunteer colleagues in Mountain Rescue and the RNLI. I am proud to be part of a team that does such excellent work in supporting our local police and ambulance services and it was an exciting and very pleasant surprise to be awarded the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal."
John pictured after receiving his medal, with Brigadier John Thomson, Patron for Cheshire Search and Rescue; and Chief Constable Mark Roberts of Cheshire Police (right).