Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team welcomes £67k control unit

Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team with their new specialist unit.
Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team with their new specialist unit.

Volunteers at Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue celebrated the arrival of their state-of-the-art £67,000 advanced control unit vehicle at the weekend.

They unveiled their new custom-built £67,000 Mercedes unit at their new Melrose base on Saturday after two years of fundraising.

Volunteer Roddy Gladstone at the nerve centre in the new unit.

Volunteer Roddy Gladstone at the nerve centre in the new unit.

Team leader Pete Matthews said: “The incident control unit is very much the hub of all activity during search-and-rescue incidents and particularly comes into its own in some of the more remote areas that the team covers.

“We would like to thank our major sponsors the Robertson Trust, SSE, EDF Energy, Selkirk Rotary Club and Peebles Round Table, without whom the new vehicle would not have been possible.

“We would also like to thank the hundreds of people who gave us smaller donations which came in through our crowd-funding initiatives and which together also make up a significant part of the overall sum.

“It is great to know we have the support and goodwill of so many in our community.”

The new four-wheel-drive vehicle replaces the group’s current Ford Transit as it was showing signs of age after more than 16 years’ service.

Offering better mobility and wider communications cover, it was custom-built to meet specifications outlined by the team by Falkirk-based vehicle converters Cebotec.

Tasked with coming up with the unit’s exact requirements, the team went as far as marking out different vehicle sizes and layouts in masking tape to get a feel of the dimensions and unit layout they wanted.

Project manager Dave Wright added: “This has been the largest project the team has undertaken, involving a sustained fundraising effort and a complex design process to ensure that the vehicle which was built was not only fit for purpose now but would still meet the team’s requirements in 15 years.

“During the design phase, the working group haven’t always agreed with each other but have been able to quickly reach a consensus to allow the design process to move on.

“What the team have achieved as volunteers is incredible, and I think I’m justified in saying that this vehicle is one of the most advanced incident control units in operation by a UK voluntary search-and-rescue team.”

The team provide search and rescue services to the communities of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scottish Borders.