Mr Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to address the third annual dinner of the Nailsea Mountain Rescue Team.
Only the other day I was chatting to a parishioner about the onerous responsibilities my chaplaincy required. I was greeted with the response, 'I've never heard of anyone in trouble on mountains in Nailsea.'
He seemed largely unconvinced by my reply, 'Yes, the team is very good.'
The Nailsea Mountain Rescue team - keeping Nailsea Mountain incidents out of the press for the last three years.
I wanted to report to you effectively and so I asked our wonderful secretary for some statistics which I now summarise:
In 2015 four training sessions were held.
March - The Black Horse at Clapton. Only 4 attendees - not quorate for a training walk, so due to Health & Safety regulations (and because it looked like rain), Trevor gave us a lift home.
Learning Point = wisdom
May - The George in Backwell. Well attended with 9 present including a member's son and 2 dogs. Uneventful return walk to Nailsea.
Learning point = growth
September - Failand Inn. Best walk of the year with a full moon so valley & Nailsea looked beautiful in the moonlight as we walked through the Tyntesfield estate.
Learning point = appreciation
November - The Rising Sun in Backwell. Not as muddy as in previous years, so Phil could have come along without fear of getting his white trainers dirty.
Learning point = connections
Once again the Backwell Lifeboat Association have failed to appear at any training event and the Coxswain and Mrs Coxswain are absent from the meal - something to do with looking for a new lifeboat whilst on holiday.
You will ponder that many of the training evenings involved public houses.
It is noted by the national body that some 10% of call-outs by UK rescue teams involve victims who have consumed alcohol.
I fear they have not followed through with their thinking however. Because this clearly means that 90% of the call-outs involved victims who have not consumed alcohol. Consumption of alcohol may reduce your need to be rescued by a factor of ten to one and our training sessions imply this.
In terms of rescues carried out, exactly the same number of people were rescued in 2015 as 2014. This is a level of consistency of which other teams can only dream. For instance, the Lake District Mountain Rescue team report that, 'There has been a significant increase in the number of call-outs involving walkers who have ventured onto the Lakeland fells ill-prepared, ill-equipped, and lacking experience.'
They might like to visit us to observe our work and copy our training and awareness-raising methodology.
That team also reported to the National Body that they lost £20,000 worth of equipment in the recent storms. Due to diligence, maintenance and forward planning our team lost no equipment in 2015.
One significant improvement on 2014 was the reduction in the number of accidental responses. No-one was offered rescue in 2015 who did not require it.
It has therefore been our most successful year yet. Please continue the good work, recruit more people to the training sessions and join me in drinking a toast to our wonderful secretary.
May we, who have come down from the mountain, rejoice that in Jesus Christ you have rescued us and provided for our every need.