Mountain Rescue England and Wales has announced that Mike France (right) will take over from David Allan as national Chairman from May 2014.
Mike joined his local team, Woodhead MRT in the Peak District, at the age of 18 and has been involved in MREW on a national level for 17 years, most recently as Chairman of National Fundraising.
“I intend to continue my local operational mountain rescue duties in parallel with the new role,” says Mike. “At the age of 61, I can’t beat a 25 year old to the top of the hill but that doesn’t mean to say I can’t get there. Mind you, I do tend to be back at base as search manager or incident controller! I think it’s important to me and to the membership of MREW that I continue to be involved on the practical side and aware of the challenges and issues that arise for MREW day to day.”
Mike takes over at a time when the public profile of mountain rescue is high but he recognises that this brings additional pressures and responsibilities to maintain standards and reinforce the best of rescue.
“I joined a voluntary rescue service many years ago and, as Chairman of MREW, I intend to continue this volunteering tradition,” he says. “Support from central government is welcome but that is no reason to become something others think we should be – we need to be in control of our own destiny.”
Continued investments in specialist training and team insurances are also priorities for the future, ensuring that teams are left to focus on raising money for local equipment from their local communities and supporters.