The Westmorland Gazette’s Readers to the Rescue campaign aims to raise £40,000 for Kendal Mountain Rescue Team to buy a new state-of-the-art vehicle that will act as a ‘mobile base’. This would allow better communications on rescues and potentially save lives. This week SARA ROYLE talks to some of the organisations unsung heroes in the team's the support group.

AWAY from the hill side rescues, there is a dedicated team who help to ensure that Kendal Mountain Rescue Team can operate smoothly.

The support group volunteers work behind the scenes, performing the kind of day-to-day tasks that may not be glamorous but are nonetheless essential.

Steve Smith is one of those members. He spends his voluntary hours helping with bucket collections, performing general base maintenance and acting as a casualty on training exercises.

A former active team member, Mr Smith is now 65-years-old and although fairly fit he said that is no longer as quick as he would need to be to attend callouts.

However, as somebody who still loves the outdoors he is only too happy to carry on supporting the vital work of the team.

"I think it's an important service, it's entirely voluntary," he said. "And I think we would all say we try to give something back to others who want to be out on the hills and provide a service they might one day need."

Dave Hughes, chair of the team, said that the work that volunteers like Mr Smith provide is 'essential'.

"Without the support group, we would struggle to maintain the state of readiness that we need to be in," he said, explaining that part of the support group's workload is ensuring the team is stocked up on basics like water and food for callouts.

Although the support group team primarily focus on fundraising, Mr Hughes said that the team had been trying to get more of them on board as exercise casualties.

During the team's regular training sessions, exercise casualties can spend a few hours on the hillside, waiting to be found by the team who will assess their ailments.

"It's useful because it means we have got more hill going team members to be there on the exercise," Mr Hughes said. "And sometimes team members might go a little bit easier because they know next time the boot might be on the other foot. Alternatively team members might be more awkward than you might expect!"

For 74-year-old Richard Sutton, another support group member with a love for the outdoors, volunteering is a way to give something back.

Mr Sutton has been helping the support group for the last three years.

"Any fundraising we can do is absolutely vital to keep it going," he said, explaining that he thinks the base is a 'wonderful' facility.

However, despite already offering his time as a bucket collector, Mr Sutton is keen to do a bit more for the team.

"I would like to be a body on the fells," he said. "Being a bit older I do not know where they would put me but I am happy to help!"

Support group members are always needed and the team is actively seeking somebody who can help with bookkeeping.

If you have been helped by Kendal Mountain Rescue Team and would like to share your story, please contact Sara Royle on 01539 790260 or email