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Edward’s Homework!

We were recently contacted by Victoria Price who sent us a lovely note and drawings made by her son Edward, a Year-2 pupil at Marwood Infants School in Great Ayton. For their homework, Edward’s class were asked to do some research about someone who has done things to help others. Edward spoke to a family friend, Jan Snowden, whose husband Bryan was a founding member of what was then known as Cleveland Search & Rescue Team.

What makes this so timely is that next year will be the 60th Anniversary of the Team – so expect to hear more of that later this year and into 2025. The following article and Edward’s homework and pictures are reproduced with the kind permission of Victoria.

BRYAN SNOWDEN ‘SNODDY’ AND THE CLEVELAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM

Bryan’s wife, Jan, is a close family friend and was able to tell us all about Bryan and his role with Cleveland Search and Rescue Team. Bryan died 10 years ago – he would have been 89 now.

Bryan was a founder member of the Cleveland Search and Rescue Team, the independent precursor to Cleveland Mountain Rescue. Lots of people liked to go walking in the hills around Great Ayton and, inevitably, some would fall and break ankles etc., and it was a long way down to get help. Bryan, as a North York Moors National Park ranger, was part of setting up the team who would go and rescue these people. As the North York Moors is such a big area, 2 teams were set up – Scarborough in the south and Cleveland in the North.

There were a lot of members from Great Ayton, due to its proximity to Roseberry Topping. All the members, like today, had other day jobs and, depending on the job, would get leave from work to go out in an emergency for a rescue. Bryan was also a teacher and would leave work to go out. The members did not get paid for being in the rescue team and relied on donations and fundraising for money. Bryan was never a team leader but he was the drive towards everything and like a father figure to them all. He was an active member for many years, and was also chairman and secretary.

Jan and Bryan’s house was the ‘post’ house (their shed). They kept a stretcher, some radios and ropes (bought by the National Park). There was a Cleveland Search and Rescue sign on their front wall so people would know where to find them, and their house was even marked ‘post’ on OS maps! Police would ring their house phone to alert them of an emergency and Bryan would phone all the people in the team (at home or work) to assemble a rescue team. This role was known as ‘call out officer’. Calls could be any time of day or night.

Sometimes people would fall off cliffs and the team would have to use ropes to lower the stretcher down to pull them back up. They would then take them to the ambulance would take them to hospital. The team also helped with searches as well as those injured, and fires on the moors in the hot year of 1976. The current team are now also trained for river rescues too. There were also doctors on the team – mostly local GPs. The team was predominantly male but did have some women too. Jan would sometimes help by doing the call outs when there was an emergency.

Team members wore walking boots and often breeches with long socks (like in the picture). They had red anoraks with the Cleveland Search and Rescue team logo on it, and rucksacks with a whistle. Navigation was just with maps and compasses to begin with, though there is more sophisticated technology today. The team initially used their own cars before they were able to invest in Landrovers. It was often Bryan’s Landover that went out to the rescues. Sometimes they were able to use rescue dogs too or a helicopter.

They had around 40 call outs a year. The need was so great it was decided they needed a team building, which is now on the A173, just outside Great Ayton on the way to Newton-under-Roseberry. Cleveland Search and Rescue Team has been taken into the national mountain rescue organisation and is now known as Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team. They have attended over 2000 call outs since 1965. Sponsored events and fundraising is very important as their source of funding – the Lyke Wake walk from Ravenscar to Osmotherly was a yearly event.



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Applications can be made to join the team in a support role (Operational Support) or as a hill going (Search and Rescue) member.

Applications for either role can be made at any time. Intakes for Operational Support members occur at various times of the year. There is one annual intake for Search and Rescue normally each September.

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