Alasdair Hutton, chair of St John Scotland in the Borders,“This is a major step forward for the Central Borders, for the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team, for Melrose and for St John Scotland.
“It will bring back into use a valuable building close to the town and give the team quick access to the road network through the Borders and up the Tweed Valley,” he continued.
“I am very glad that St John Scotland has been able to play a central part in this exciting development and in doing it is putting a firm stamp on its commitment to the area.”
TVMRT has been supporting local communities in the Lothians and Borders for well over 40 years and the acquisition of this new base will be a considerable step forward in terms of improved facilities for training, storage of kit and vehicles, and a very visible public presence.
One Land Rover ambulance will be based at Peebles Police Station and a control vehicle based at the Fire Station in Galashiels.
Pete Matthews, Tweed Valley MRT team leader, added: “Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team are delighted to take possession of the former fire station in Melrose and are extremely grateful to St John Scotland for their support and financial commitment to Mountain Rescue in Scotland. The building will be a fantastic asset for the Team and greatly enhance the capacity of our volunteers to assist those in need. We believe this is a great opportunity to promote the work done by both of our organisations in serving our communities.”
Since 1990 the Tweed Valley Team has operated out of their base behind the Argus Centre in Selkirk which, whilst fit for purpose at the time, has now become too small to cater for the team’s operational and training requirements.
The team had been looking for a new site which would better fits its current-day needs for almost ten years.
The move to Melrose will provide them with a building with facilities which include a multi-vehicle garage, administration facilities, a training room and a welfare area.
Major General Mark Strudwick CBE, Prior of St John Scotland, said this week: “I am delighted that St John Scotland has been able to fund the purchase and renovation of the former Fire Station in Melrose as the new base for the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team.
“This will be the fourteenth base that St John Scotland has provided for mountain rescue since 1998, and it will significantly enhance the team’s ability to train for and respond to rescue operations in the area.”
Meanwhile Damon Powell, chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, said: “St John Scotland continues to be a tremendous supporter of mountain rescue teams across Scotland and this most recent example is fantastic news.”
Local Senior Officer David Farries, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted that the former fire station building will be resurrected and utilised by our partners from the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team and St John Scotland to benefit the local community and across the Scottish Borders.”