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Volunteers needed to aid search and rescue

By This is Surrey  |  Posted: January 14, 2011

  • TRAINING: Surrey Search and Rescue volunteers

  • ON THE HUNT: One of the trained search dogs

  • SNIFFER: Search and rescue dog Sox follows a scent

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VOLUNTEERS are needed to join a team that searches for missing people.

Surrey Search and Rescue was set up eight months ago by Tim Rowsell after he discovered all surrounding counties have rescue teams.

The team, which currently has 14 members and four search dogs, has not yet been out on a rescue mission.

Chairman Mr Rowsell said: "At the moment, we are still waiting to go through a series of exams with a national body who will certify we are ready to go out on the ground.

"We are hoping to be operational within the next few weeks."

Surrey Search and Rescue will help emergency services in situations such as those involving missing children or elderly people, and volunteers will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

But the team needs more volunteers spread throughout Surrey to help, and no one from Mole Valley has yet signed up.

Mr Rowsell, 33, said: "There are two kinds of membership. There are 'friends' who do the secretarial work, fundraising and raising our profile and then we have 'operational' team members who go out searching on the ground.

"Those volunteers need to be physically fit and able to walk six miles over woodland terrain in two hours."

Other requirements include being able to navigate as well as learning basic first aid.

Mr Rowsell said: "On average 2,100 people go missing in Surrey every year and, although they do not all require a full call-out or search, we have a high percentage of people that can be classified as being vulnerable and will need our assistance."

The organisation is entirely reliant on donations and is currently fund-raising to buy a team vehicle that will cost about £20,000.

Mr Rowsell, who is hoping to get his border collie Oakley qualified as a search dog, said: "We need between £500,000 and £600,000 a year to run and cover maintenance costs."

Surrey Search and Rescue is holding a recruitment event next Wednesday at 7.30pm in the lecture theatre at Surrey Police headquarters, Mount Browne in Sandy Lane, Guildford.

To book a place e-mail info@sursar.org.uk. For further information, visit www.sursar.org.uk or write to Surrey Search and Rescue, c/o Woking Police Station, Station Approach, Woking GU22 7SY.

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