CSAR logo CHESHIRE
SEARCH AND RESCUE


Members

Our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds including healthcare, the police, music, retail, military, business, manufacturing and beyond. The common denominator between us is a desire to train hard for every eventuality to be able to assist our community irrespective of whether we had a good day at work or not, what the prevailing weather is like or what time of night or day of the year it is.

Should you wish to join the team, it is beneficial to have existing skills but absolutely by no means essential due to the high calibre of internal and external instructors. Instructors include experienced Search and Rescue and Mountain Rescue members, Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Rescue, healthcare professionals and numerous other agencies. New members are allocated a mentor and encouraged and given the opportunity to add to their skills on an ongoing basis.

At the moment there are no operational member vacancies and there is a waiting list for people interested in joining the team. The earliest possible date that recruitment will be considered is January 2016. Please check this section of the website regularly to find out when we are next recruiting.

If you're interested in joining the team as a non-operational member to assist with fundraising and other tasks to keep the team running, please contact us.
Chairman: Robbie Davies MBE (54) from Warrington was appointed as Chairman in 2013, something he considers an honour and a privilege. He had long been interested in getting involved in the voluntary sector, particularly SAR or MR, and his retirement as a Major in the Army after serving 38 years provided the opportunity to pursue it.

He has remained in the Army under a different kind of contract, and over a distinguished career after he joined aged 17, he travelled the world and saw many deployments in active service and operations.

One of his career highlights was taking on a groundbreaking project in 2008 to move 4,000 troops (1,000) families back to the UK from Germany. With teams both sides of the channel, nothing of this scale had been attempted previously and such was its success, he was awarded an MBE in 2010.

His last appointment was as a Company Commander, responsible for over 200 soldiers which he found challenging but extremely rewarding. In terms of CSAR, he enjoys working alongside like-minded people who give a lot, but ask nothing in return. Offering their skills without question, he sees an amazing group with unique comradeship and an incredible sense of doing what’s right!

He enjoys the opportunity that CSAR gives to use the knowledge and expertise he’s gained in the Army, and has taken the opportunity to make good friends, work within the community and gain a feeling of satisfaction from being part of a team who provide a professional service without fanfare or fuss.

Robbie has the utmost respect for each and every team member and wants to contribute in the most positive way he can.

As Chairman, Robbie sees himself continuing to work alongside the Team Leader and the Executive on behalf of the whole team in taking our training forward to maintain our current Operational status. It’s important to forge existing relationships with agencies such as the police and emergency services and look to build on existing practices with a view to constantly revaluate and improve our skills. By doing this we can ensure we utilise best practice to serve not only the people of Cheshire, but whom ever we can offer support to.

Team Leader: Simon Lane (42) from Wilmslow was appointed Team Leader in 2013 after holding a number of other roles on the Executive Committee.

Away from the team he is the director of a property investment company based in Cheshire and is married with three children.

Simon has always enjoyed being outdoors (both above and underground) more than being indoors and taken on a variety of voluntary roles over the years, including being a school governor, chair of the PTA and leading caving and walking trips for the Youth Service.

Despite being aware of and having huge respect for the Search and Rescue teams he’s seen in action when out walking and potholing, Simon didn’t know that Cheshire even had a team. Within minutes of hearing about CSAR he submitted an application to join and waited (not very patiently) until he was accepted as a member.

“The rewards of being part of the team reach many levels. Just knowing you’ve made a difference by turning out on a search and even at those times when the outcome is not what you’d hoped for. Training together adds to the whole experience of being part of a team – through the quality of training and camaraderie of the team members. It is great to be a part of a group of people who can transform at the flick of a switch from banter to true professionalism when training or when called out.”

Simon would like to help work towards the continued development of CSAR's links with partner organisations, with the focus remaining clearly in the interests of the missing or injured person.

Deputy Team Leader and Fundraising Lead: Mark Simpson (42) is from Warrington and in addition to being DTL, also has the role of Fundraising Lead.

A born and bred ‘scouser’ he had a variety of jobs before becoming a gas engineer and progressing to his current position of Technical Account Manager, looking after a national team of engineers. His motivation to join CSAR was based on a desire to give something back to the community of Cheshire and be there for the people who need our help. He’s incredibly proud to be a member of the team and enjoys both of his Executive Committee roles, which enable him to contribute to and help shape the team for the future, working alongside his Exec colleagues and fellow volunteers.

He loves the fact that being a member of the team means he learns new skills that can be used in everyday life as well as equipping him to carry out team duties to the highest standards. This was something he saw first hand after a search in Frodsham. Having found the missing person, he watched his team-mates put their BTACC first aid skills into action to keep the casualty safe and well until the Ambulance arrived. This proved without doubt that the training works and the service the team provides is vital!

For the future, wants to be part of a team that’s evolving over time and having been part of some major changes already, he can see the fantastic foundation that’s been laid already. He’s looking forward to implementing the planned development program for the team and work on enhancing the links with friends and colleagues from other local teams.

Deputy Team Leader: Rick Lane 36 from Wilmslow has been a member of the team for over 3 years. A big fan of volunteering in general and this team in particular really appealed due to his love of the great outdoors.

During the week Rick is a Property Manager and Relocation Agent and where time permits he spends his time snowboarding, mountain biking or up in the Lake District or Wales with his wife and 2 boys.

"Being a member of this amazing team is by far the best thing I have ever been a part of. It’s great to see the journey each team member goes through, from starting with the team and learning every new skill, to see these skills being used on Callouts and how much difference we make as a team to those who need us."

Training Co-ordinator: Mark Clayton (52) is from Northwich and a retired Officer from the Greater Manchester Police force where he had a variety of roles through a lengthy and distinguished career. He was the Health and Safety Advisor to the Police Federation of England and Wales for many years and also worked as a dog handler. He now works as a Sales Driver for Arnold Clark and is a Director of the University of Chester Academies.

Mark joined CSAR to stay active after his retirement, and to find an outlet for the skills he’d developed during his career and to provide an important and valuable service to the people of Cheshire.

With his background, it’s not surprising to hear that Mark thoroughly enjoys being part of a team of volunteers who have come together to give up their time and are motivated by a common cause.

Already holding a qualification for teaching adults (PTLLS), Mark wants to use his time in the role to enhance the training experience for all members. He’s a great believer in getting the core training right, then encouraging the team to stretch themselves and develop areas of specialism.

Over the coming years he’d like to see the team become the best trained and best equipped Lowland Search and Rescue team in the country.

ST Training and Assessment Officer: Jim Oliver (61) is one of our two Search Technician Training and Assessment Officers and has been with the team for nearly 10 years. He joined because he wanted to do something for the community and had thought about Mountain Rescue but never quite got round to it!

He spotted an advertisement for the team and thought it could be an ideal opportunity to marry both together, so he applied and the rest is history!

Jim works as a Senior (he assures us it's nothing to do with age) Analytical Chemist working in the chemical industry, with main roles involving calibration, validation and maintenance of gas chromatographs.

Having been with the team a long time, Jim has watched it go from strength to strength and grow beyond all recognition into the well-oiled machine that it is now and still developing. He remembers a time when our control vehicle was a rickety old 2-berth caravan and 10 people at a call out was a lot. Speaking honestly, he said that due to his age, he has considered retiring gracefully from the team but knows that within a couple of weeks it would be a decision he regretted. He loves the lack of egos amongst team members and the shared camaraderie. No matter what time of night or whatever the weather, that's what makes him want to go training or attend a call out.

Jim loves being involved in the training side of the team and notes that despite his vast experience, he's still learning new techniques. The skill base in the team is fantastic and growing, and no matter who is involved, the team members are always willing to pass on their knowledge to the benefit of the team.

For the future, he'd like to see the team carry on down the path it's carving and secure the new equipment, particularly vehicles that it needs.

ST Training and Assessment Officer: Pete Taylor (52) is one of our two Search Technician Training and Assessment Officers and has been with the team for just over 5 years. He joined after speaking to a colleague (who happens to be one of the team's dog handlers) who he met at work where he's a production team leader looking after a team of production operators at a chemical manufacturing plant.

Pete checked the website and when he saw what the team did, if fitted well with what he was looking for. He’d previously been a Special Constable for Cheshire Police for 7 years and hand enjoyed it very much.

What makes Pete want to go out in all weathers is the knowledge that the whole team has the skills and motivation to help people in their hour of need. Not to be a hero, but just to help.

The memory that sticks with Pete is a call out that happened on a training night. On the way to a body recovery, the Police officer leading the team to the location jumped over a fence and fell through a drain cover, breaking his ankle! So in addition to the recovery job, he had to administer first aid and arrange a long distance extraction of the Policeman (in full body armour) along a towpath! It was a late finish that night.

The most enjoyable part of being involved in the training is being able to pass on the knowledge that he has gained over the years, and seeing the new recruits come through the system. His dream for the future of the team is to see a new base that can be called home, and to keep evolving and developing further in the way it is now.