Long-serving volunteers of a county lowland rescue group have been awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for service to the country.
Northants Search & Rescue (NSAR), a member of the national organisation Lowland Rescue, representing 35 teams across the UK, has received the Royal recognition for the first time.
The highly prestigious award had been previously given to other search and rescue organisations, but until now had not included Lowland Rescue.
After lobbying supported by agencies, including the national police chief’s council, it was agreed lowland rescue members should be included in the recognition.
NSAR search manager Neil Balderson, one of the recipients, said: “We are really pleased to be receiving these awards. It’s not why we do it but it’s a real honour to be included in the list.”
More than 650 Lowland Rescue members have qualified by delivering over five years of volunteering each. Of these seven are in Northamptonshire, with the team forming only nine years ago.
Awardees are Dave McBurnie and Neill Lucket (Corby), John Allen and Paul Marlow (Kettering), Linda Wyatt (Wellingborough), Neil Balderson (Wollaston), Mark Lawson (Middleton Cheney) and
Martin Bourne (Towcester).
Volunteers remain on call 24/7 365 days a year, to support emergencies including searches for missing persons, flood rescue, and wildfire tactical support.
Since its inception NSAR has attended more than 400 operations, and volunteers have donated more than 10,000 hours. Volunteers remain on call 24/7 365 days a year.
Teams have now expanded their roles to include search dogs, search drones, flood and swift water rescue and mountain bike, canoe and kayak searching teams.
Acting as a token of the nation’s thanks, the Platinum Jubilee Medal follows a long history of awarding medals to mark Royal Jubilees, with the first one awarded to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1887.
The Platinum Jubilee Medal has been designed by Timothy Noad of the College of Arms and features an image of The Queen with the Latin inscription ‘Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina Fid Def’ which stands for ‘Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith.