The team was first formed back in the 1970s as a North of Tyne Local Education Authority team in response to an increase in the number of incidents occurring on the hills and fells of Northumbria as outdoor activities such as climbing and hill walking grew in popularity. It became the ‘North of Tyne Search & Rescue Team’ (NOTSRT) in the early 80s and more recently became the ‘North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team’.
The team is entirely staffed by unpaid volunteers, totalling just over 40 qualified members and a number of trainees. We are funded solely by charitable donations as we receive no government funding, unlike our Scottish counterparts.
We currently operate in partnership with the Northumberland National Park MRT, providing Search and Rescue cover for remote and urban areas of Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, 365 day of the year.
For the first 10 years of the team's existence, funding was available. Then in 1981, the Education Authorities withdrew vital support from the team, both financial and the life saving equipment we utilised. Shaken by this the team nearly folded, however a few brave volunteers, undeterred by this decided to continue. So, in 1980 with -£37.00 in the bank, no equipment, radios, vehicles, status etc, the North of Tyne Search and Rescue Team was born.
In the early days the team soldiered on. With little equipment available, some had to be begged, borrowed and even stolen! The early team members didn’t have access to team vehicles, therefore only personal vehicles were used. One team member even had a roof rack put on his car in order to get the stretcher to call-outs and exercises. There was no team clothing either - all team members used their own outdoor gear.
The team continued on, storing what little equipment was available in each other's garages. The team then began to grow, by organising raffles, sponsored runs, ceilidhs and paying a membership fee to help purchase radios to aid communication.
Funding the team is a demanding task requiring dedication and persistence all year round, as the team relies entirely on charitable donations to provide the high quality and exacting standards expected by the public and the Emergency Services we support.
The team's annual running costs are around £24,000. This is mainly due to the running costs of the vehicles and the maintenance or replacement of equipment. In addition to this, all team members give their time free of charge and pay their own travel and equipment expenses, as well as supply their own equipment such as rucksacks, boots, harnesses etc. Team issue clothing and equipment extends to jackets and helmets, but doesn't fully equip a team member for every eventually.
We simply couldn't continue without the generous support of the public through donations and through the fundraising events that we run. One of the safest and most convenient ways to show your support for the team is to donate online! You can make a donation to the team via the secure Virgin Money Giving page. Most major credit cards are accepted and you can opt to remain anonymous if you wish.