Lotto aids Borders Water Rescue Team

New equipment for Border Water Rescue Team, seen here in Kelso.

New equipment for Border Water Rescue Team, seen here in Kelso.

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Unlike its affiliate mountain search and rescue teams, the Borders Water Rescue Team has always bubbled away beneath the surface.

Now a National Lottery grant of nearly £10,000 is helping the divers expand their team, and their response to river flooding.

The Lottery’s £9,358 award will buy new sets of dry suits, flotation devices, safety helmets and night lights for 12 swiftwater rescue technicians, who save people stuck in, or by, fast-flowing water.

As well as being able to search underwater, the aquatic search and rescue team provides access to remote areas such as islands and steep riverbanks.

Borders Water Rescue Team’s David Fuller-Shapcott told The Southern: “We rescue people and animals during floods, and often carry out missing persons searches. So far this year, we’ve done two body finds and recoveries. Our job is reuniting the body with relatives so they can move on.”

Mr Fuller-Shapcott, a farmer near Kelso, is, like the rest of his team, on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The charity, which was unique in the UK and still is in Scotland, currently has seven recently-qualified swiftwater technicians responding to emergencies in the Borders and Lothians area, but the Lottery funding will help them increase the service.

The band of rescuers, set up in 1997 as the Borders Underwater Search Team, this year became a charity, and so changed its name to the Borders Water Rescue Team, to better describe the role it now serves.

Thanks to the National Lottery, the charity faces a stronger, surer future in the land of mountain and flood.

See this week’s Southern Reporter for details of how to win a VIP weekend in London – courtesy of the National Lottery.