KENDAL’S mountain rescue team has taken delivery of its brand new vehicle, funded by the generosity of The Westmorland Gazette’s readers.

Last August, the newspaper launched its Readers to the Rescue appeal. It aimed to raise £40,000 in order to pay for a state-of-the-art new vehicle that will act as a 'mobile base', allowing for better communication on rescues and increase the team's chances of positive outcomes.

A charity wholly dependent on volunteers and donations to survive, Kendal MRT needed he support of the community to replace an outdated minibus.

Gazette readers showed huge amounts of generosity and by Christmas time, the £40,000 target had been topped.

The team has now bought the new four-wheel drive vehicle and the next step will be sending it to be kitted out with all of the equipment it needs in order to assist the team member's on their rescue missions.

"We have it and we're really pleased," team leader Dave Howarth said. "We're looking forward now to getting it converted.

"It's a shell at the moment, there's nothing in it. It's going to be made like an office. It will be like our base, we'll be able to take it anywhere, park it up and be able to run a call-out or rescue from this vehicle."

The conversion process will take around six to eight weeks and the team then plan on holding an open day to show the vehicle off to the community.

As well as acting as a mobile base and making for better communication between team members while they are out on rescues, the vehicle will also be used as an ambulance where necessary, with enough room to fit a patient on a stretcher.

It is hoped that the new vehicle, which is one of four owned by the team, will stand the test of time and it is anticipated it will stay with the team for 12 years.

The vehicle it is replacing has been given to Penrith Mountain Rescue Team.

"There's a bit of a legacy there, that vehicle will stay in the Lake District," said Dave.

To raise an additional £40,000 for the new versatile vehicle on top of Kendal Mountain Rescue's annual base running costs could have taken the charity 18 months.


"We would have still been collecting now if The Westmorland Gazette hadn't got involved," Dave said. "It was just amazing the amount of money that was donated so quickly. It just meant we could realise our dream. In another eight weeks it'll be fit to go and we'll be going on rescues.

"We're going to present the vehicle to Kendal, not just for us but for the people of Kendal.