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Fell rescue team covering Harrogate district experience 'busiest year on record'

A fell rescue team covering parts of the Harrogate district have experienced their 'busiest year to date' after attending 74 callouts.

A Grassington-based fell rescue team covering parts of the Harrogate district have experienced their 'busiest year to date' after attending 74 callouts in 2021. Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA) are a mountain rescue team who cover underground rescues as well as the more traditional surface and water incidents. And despite a quiet Christmas period, the team were called to 74 incidents throughout the year - beating the previous record of 56 in 2020. The team is made up of 60 volunteers in the operational team, contributing a combined 2,690 hours to rescues, training and fundraising. UWFRA covers Harrogate, Ripon, Upper Wharfedale, parts of Lower Wharfedale including Ilkley, Littondale, Nidderdale and the surrounding areas. [caption id="attachment_22051" align="alignnone" width="2560"] The UWFRA team working alongside the fire brigade.[/caption] Regular hotspots include Brimham Rocks and Ilkley Moor - although these places were not as busy as in 2020, as the UWFRA were called to each location four times this year. Derek Hammond, Controller at Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, said:

"We had 8 callouts to assist with searches. The majority of these have involved either dementia or mental health issues with most of the missing being found either by the rescue teams or Police during the search. "Our team of specialist water rescue technicians also have had a quieter year with only two incidents requiring their skills. "We would like to thank all those who have supported the Team throughout this difficult year, especially our families and friends who have had plans disrupted, special occasions and meals missed as we head out to help those in difficulty."
[caption id="attachment_22044" align="alignnone" width="2560"] The UWFRA team contributed over 2,600 volunteer hours in 2021.[/caption]

It costs around £50,000 each year to fund the replacement equipment and training required to keep the UWFRA team operational.

The team usually hold major fundraising events in the form of the Wharfedale Three Peaks at the end of June and Grassington Dickensian festival in December. They also regularly attend the Great Knaresborough Bed Race to provide safety cover as well as raising awareness and funds for the team. Derek added:
"Most of these events have fallen victim to the Covid restrictions in place this year but the Wharfedale Three Peaks is planned for the 25th June and the other events will also hopefully be back in 2022."

Should you require assistance from the UWFRA team, call 999 and ask for the Police and then ask for Mountain Rescue, giving details of your location and the nature of the incident.

More details about the team can be found by visiting www.uwfra.org.uk or via their Facebook page.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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