Cumbrian fells rescue teams 'need funds'

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There are fresh calls for stretched mountain rescue teams to receive funding rather than having to rely solely on fundraising.

Teams in Cumbria have dealt with a rise in call-outs to the fells.

They have also been involved in "non-traditional" events such as the floods in the county and the aftermath of the Derrick Bird shootings.

Teams said they have been proud of their independence but are now under pressure.

The mountain rescue teams are charities and rely almost completely on donations from the public.

Chairman of Mountain Rescue England, David Allan, who is also team doctor with Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team, said while teams were proud to have supported themselves, things had changed.

Financial recognition

He said the two key changes were sheer volume of activity teams were involved in and the unprecedented number of non-mountain rescue events.

Mr Allan said team members did their own fundraising but with the increased demands on their time, that was also coming under pressure.

He said: "We are reaching a point where our expenses are going up because of the increased activity and the diversification.

"And secondly the team members can't continue to do everything."

Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs said he wants to reestablish an all-party parliamentary mountain rescue group to look at what support could be given to the teams.

He said: "Nobody would want to take away from their independence but all we feel is that there should be some recognition financially for what they do and the money they themselves have to put in."

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