Anonymous donation buys new rescue vehicle for mountain rescue team

The Lord Lieutenant of Kirkcudbright and Prior of St. John Scotland, Sir Malcolm Ross, hands over the new GMRT ambulance to Team Leader Ken Mackenzie and other team members. GG 241114 1
The Lord Lieutenant of Kirkcudbright and Prior of St. John Scotland, Sir Malcolm Ross, hands over the new GMRT ambulance to Team Leader Ken Mackenzie and other team members. GG 241114 1

Galloway Mountain Rescue Team was presented with the keys for a new purpose converted rescue vehicle to be based, under a partnership arrangement, with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at Castle Douglas Fire Station.

The vehicle was presented to Team Leader Ken Mackenzie by Sir Malcolm Ross, Lord Lieutenant of Kirkcudbright, and Prior of St. John Scotland, at a ceremony at Castle Douglas Fire Station on Saturday.

The brand new VW Transporter 4-Motion 4x4 Ambulance was funded by an incredibly generous £20,000 anonymous donation with the remainder being funded by St. John

Scotland. It was converted by Crown Conversions, Airdrie, who specialise in converting emergency vehicles.

Sir Malcolm Ross said: “It is indeed a great pleasure to present my local mountain rescue team with the keys for this fantastic new vehicle. St John Scotland have now supported teams around the country with thirteen new bases and as part of our Mountain Rescue Support Project and we are now replacing vehicles we originally purchased when the programme commenced back in 1998.”

“St. John Scotland provided £20,000 towards the cost of this vehicle and it is particularly pleasing to see it being garaged in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. This is such a sensible and welcome arrangement, which will protect our investment.”

Team Leader Ken Mackenzie, who received the keys from Sir Malcolm, said: “This is a massive improvement on the vehicle it replaces. Technology has moved

forward and we are fortunate to have the very latest fully equipped vehicle as part of our rescue fleet.

“In personnel carrying mode it comfortably accommodates seven rescuers and all their equipment, yet it converts into a stretcher carrying ambulance in less than 60 seconds.

“There are fourteen personnel based in and around Castle Douglas. Previously, the rescue vehicle was s based at Castle Douglas Police Station, and since the team has been c-ordinated by Police Scotland, this was a sensible arrangement for which we were gateful. However, sitting outside, exposed to the elements, isn’t ideal and having this new vehicle garaged from the outset was a priority to the team.

“We are so thankful to our anonymous donor, and of course the continued support from St. John Scotland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service allowing us to garage the vehicle at Castle Douglas Fire Station, until we can arrange our own facility, means we have an opportunity to build upon an already positive relationship”.

Area Manager Alan Fairbairn, the local senior officer for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Protecting the public is at the heart of everything we do and this is another example of the great partnerships between emergency services benefiting our communities” “When the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team asked if the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service could help house their brand new vehicle it was of course something we wanted to make happen.

“By locating this state-of-the-art rescue vehicle at Castle Douglas Fire Station until the team has a suitable garage, we can help ensure it’s in great condition to help people for years to come.”

“Firefighters and our fellow emergency responders are used to working incredibly closely at incidents and in the proactive work done to help keep the area safe”.

“I’m delighted the fire service can provide a much-need facility for our colleagues in the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.”

Addendum - At 9.15 pm, less than 8 hours after the vehicle was officially handed over to the team, it responded to a call from Police Scotland, to investigate an unusual flashing light on a hillside west of Gatehouse of Fleet. Fourteen personnel responded but it turned out to be nothing more than a warning light for an electric fence and a false alarm with good intent.

For more information about the voluntary activities of Galloway MRT including details of

incidents, training, walk routes and much more, visit www.gallowaymrt.org.uk.