THE Flookburgh-based Bay Search and Rescue Team dealt with a record 29 call-outs in 2012 – and among the most memorable moments was the rescue of four cows from quicksands.

Volunteers managed to free one of the stricken animals at Greenodd in under an hour, which was described by training officer Mike Davis, 39, as ‘a real achievement.’ And eventually all four of the beasts were saved from the rising tide.

“It’s not just the cost of the animal we have to consider but the risk the farmer may put himself in to save them,” said Mr Davis.

“This year we’ve been working on speed and efficiency of rescue so it was good to put in the practice.”

Last year saw membership of the team increase to 34 – six years ago there were just eight volunteers.

“We’ve had a lot more call-outs this year particularly towards Lancashire so the extra volunteers have helped,” said Mr Davis.

“The team is made up of people who work full-time as landscape gardeners, hotel managers and even some pro-boat rescue trainers. It’s fantastic to have such a mix of backgrounds coming together to help people in trouble.”

The team spent a record-breaking 4,040 hours on call-outs, exercises and other events in 2012.

“There has been a lot of hard work and dedication put in this year, not only in the Bay but in training,” said Mr Davis.

“You never know what situation you might find yourself in so it’s important for everyone to get experience.”

A Bay Search and Rescue youth section is set to launch in 2013 after youngsters aged as young as 12 expressed interest in joining the team – when the legal minimum age to take part in operations is 18.

Mr Davis said: “Juniors will learn about procedures and practical skills like map reading and engineering so they can perhaps make the step up in the future.”