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New Thurso-based vehicle is ‘a real asset’ to mountain rescue team

A campaign to raise more than £50,000 has resulted in Assynt Mountain Rescue Team taking delivery of a new vehicle to be based in Thurso.

The Mercedes Benz 4x4 Sprinter, which replaces an old ambulance, was provided despite lockdown restrictions after a specialist company completed the internal and external fittings.

The new vehicle is fully equipped for all search-and-rescue requirements.

Nearly two years of fundraising took place to achieve the £51,000 target. Major donations came from the Strathy North Community Fund, SSEN Resilient Communities Fund, Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, E.ON Camster Community Fund, Caithness Beatrice Community Fund, Tesco Bags of Help, E.ON Rosehall Community Fund supported by Foundation Scotland, Greencoat Stroupster Community Fund and Assynt Community Council.

The team also received many individual donations, and fundraising events were held by team members. The vehicle is able to carry a stretcher and has specialised equipment for search and rescue.

It has also modern communications for radio, phone and internet.

Rescue team chairman John Cuthbert said: “This new vehicle replaces our old ambulance that was starting to become very unreliable. From Thurso we can cover the local area and all of Caithness and Sutherland, responding to search-and-rescue needs.

"We are delighted that the new vehicle was able to be delivered during these difficult times and extremely grateful to all our funders who have enabled this to happen.”

Assynt Mountain Rescue Team covers Caithness and Sutherland and has more than 35 volunteers from throughout the area. Its main rescue post is at Inchnadamph.

Team leader Sue Agnew said: “This is a real asset to the team. Deployment to help our communities is far easier with a modern, reliable vehicle like this one.

"Not only does this serve as a transport vehicle, but also gives us communications and equipment carrying to allow us to help save lives.”

Source: John O’Groat Journal 19.05.2020