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Kindred spirits in Kinder Mountain Rescue Team

Avril Marsh

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Kinder Mountain RescueAmanda HowlettAlison AldridgeMarplePeak DistrictBirch ValeMellor

Amanda Howlett and Alison Aldridge

Kindred spirits in Kinder Mountain Rescue Team are Amanda Howlett and Alison Aldridge, two of five female hill team volunteers in this 50-strong squad.  Their wish ‘to give something back’ means they don’t mind the 24/7, 365 commitment, their love of energetic outdoor sport keeps them at peak fitness, they enjoy the camaraderie and hope their example will encourage more women to join.  

Amanda, a solicitor, and Alison, an account manager, welcome the contrast to their desk-based professions and their rucksacks are always ready, heavy with personal hill kit, plus casualty shelter, sleeping bag, radio, signalling flares, stretcher and basic medical supplies.  

Alison joined KMRT 12 years ago when she moved from Northampton to Birch Vale, to be near the Peak District.  Amanda lives in Mellor and completed her probationary year last autumn. In her excitement at her first callout as a full team member, she almost became the subject of a rescue herself. “I had signed in for a night race in Lyme Park, and was just wondering what to do with my phone when it rang with the callout. I dashed off to my car before realising I needed to cancel my entry or they would have been looking for me later, assuming I’d raced but failed to finish.” 

Fortunately few rescues are as close a call as the one Alison attended two years ago, when a mountain biker fell and the handlebar of his bike severed his femoral artery.  “His companion managed to stem the blood flow, with help from two passing walkers, but he was in real danger.  Luckily we were just finishing a team exercise when we received the callout, so were quickly on the scene to take over until the air ambulance arrived. He was critically ill for months afterwards, but he and his friend have since raised a lot of money for us.”   

     Their wise word to walkers? “GPS on your mobile phone is fantastic but don’t use it for navigation as it’ll quickly flatten your battery. Take a map and compass, and know how to use them. Save your phone in case you need an emergency call, torch or location aid for us.”  

*KMRT attend about 50 callouts a year. Everyone is a volunteer, there are no paid roles. It costs £25,000 a year to fund the team, mostly from donations, supplemented by first aid and marshalling support at fell runs and similar events. New supporters - for hill team or raising funds - are always welcome. More information at kmrt.org.uk or on their Facebook page.