Team’s bravery award

Pictured left to right at the awards ceremony; Superintendent John Puttock (Lancashire Constabulary), Inspector David Old (Lancashire Constabulary), Liverpool Shipwreck Humane Society Chairman Brian Airey, Bowland Pennine MRT awardees Julian Earnshaw, Gary McGrath, Chris Thomas, Rob Gilder and Team Leader Kevin Camplin.
Pictured left to right at the awards ceremony; Superintendent John Puttock (Lancashire Constabulary), Inspector David Old (Lancashire Constabulary), Liverpool Shipwreck Humane Society Chairman Brian Airey, Bowland Pennine MRT awardees Julian Earnshaw, Gary McGrath, Chris Thomas, Rob Gilder and Team Leader Kevin Camplin.

Members of a mountain rescue team have been given commendations for bravery for the rescue of a woman in a sinking car during the Storm Desmond floods of December 2015.

The award of three parchments and one commendation from the Liverpool Shipwreck Humane Society for the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team members recognises the prompt action in saving the life of the lady driver.

Not only were they fortuitously in the right place at the right time but they were able to use their training, skills and equipment effectively to bring about a remarkable rescue.

The first weekend in December is traditionally a team social weekend based at Smelt Mill, a residential training base in the trough of Bowland near Dunsop Bridge.

The normal format is a day out on the fell incorporating a barbeque.

Then it’s back to Smelt Mill for a Christmas dinner.

However, December 2015 wasn’t going to be normal, Storm Desmond put paid to any semblance of normality.

When call-outs to flood incidents throughout the county started coming in Team members were dispatched and the traditional Christmas dinner looked like a scene from the Marie Celeste.The Team’s incident log recorded one particular event.

“December 5. 19:17 Hrs. Denny Beck, Caton. Before returning to Smelt Mill from Incident 51 the team decided to check out Denny Beck in Caton (one of the team members lives in Caton and wanted to assess any risk).

“On arrival at the water’s edge a cars tail lights could be seen driving into the water and begin to float away.

“After a quick exit from the Land Rover and just time to grab buoyancy aids three team members entered the water.

“Contact was made with the occupant with the car filling with water.

“The car stopped against a submerged wall and there was just time to put a spare buoyancy aid on the lady and float her to safety through the car window.

“There was just six inches of the vehicle visible and shortly afterwards it sank. The lady was given shelter overnight at one of the houses in Caton.”

During the devastating floods of Storm Desmond, Lancaster and Morecambe were effectively cut off from each other for two days after the two bridges in and out of Lancaster were rendered impassable.

Up to 55,000 people in the Morecambe and Lancaster area were left without electricity and countless businesses and homes were flooded out as flood waters deluged the city.