Local generosity keeps Central Beacons MRT on the road

The addition of the Gearmate system adds organised storage to the Mitsubishi L200 donated by South Wales Police, making it even more useful to the team. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography.

The generosity of South Wales Constabulary and a company based in Warwickshire is helping to keep Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team on the road and available to its community and visitors in need.

Since a fire at the team’s base in Merthyr Tydfil in November 2017, team members and their supporters have been fundraising and seeking support to reach a target of £250,000 to renovate their damaged base and to replace the team’s specialist vehicles and equipment.

“We’ve had tremendous support from all sorts of people and organisations and we’ve made a lot of progress towards that huge target,” says Team Leader Penny Brockman. “It has also been wonderful to receive loans and donations of practical equipment so that we can get back to normal in terms of training and responses to call outs even more quickly than we ever thought possible.”

(From L to R) Jon Goddard, Central Beacons MRT; Jennifer Bonson, Project Manager, Gearmate; Angela Oliveira, Marketing Executive, Gearmate; and Paul Richards, Central Beacons MRT. Photo: Ann Seymour Photography.

One significant donation came from South Wales Police, which has given the team a Mitsubishi L200 vehicle. This has been given the familiar livery and blue lights of a mountain rescue vehicle and also has an added extra to make it even more useful. Gearmate of Alcester in Warwickshire heard about the fire and destruction and offered to fit a team vehicle with a donated full drawer storage system and this has now been fitted into the L200.

“Our main aim in making this donation was to provide the Team with additional tools that will enhance the amazing work that they do,” said Nick Moberley, Managing Director of Gearmate. “We’re all about allowing 4×4 owners to maximise the potential of their vehicles and this system should help Central Beacons to organise their equipment, improve the security of the vehicle and, ideally, even contribute to their response times due to improved accessibility.”

“These practical donations and loans are an amazing support,” says Central Beacons MRT member and Deputy Vehicle Officer, Paul Richards. “The Gearmate donation makes the L200 even more useful to us as there’s a lot of bulky equipment that needs to be stored and transported to incidents and then accessed as quickly as possible – this storage system will make that possible and, at a value of over £2000, it’s good value but not something that we’d have been able to justify at present even though it should make a big difference.”

The team from Gearmate met with Paul and others from the team at the temporary base at Merthyr Tydfil Fire and Rescue Station on 24 May and the vehicle is now in full use on call outs across the Central Beacons area.

Penny Brockman said, “We’re very grateful for this support from Gearmate and from our partners at South Wales Police and we’re already seeing the benefits of using this vehicle and being able to keep so much equipment safely and securely. Thank you to everyone who has supported our appeal in any way at all – we’re very grateful.”