As the volunteers of Wiltshire Search and Rescue reflect on another busy year supporting Wiltshire Police and the emergency services, the team is also pleased to announce the launch of their brand new 4x4 vehicle.

In total the team members gave 28,617 hours of volunteering time in the 12 months up to the end of December 2019 and were called out 62 times to find, rescue and treat missing and vulnerable people in the county. There are currently 75 volunteers in the team.

The team also took part in over 1,100 hours of training and 1,770 hours of fundraising to ensure that the charity – which solely relies on donations – could keep going.

The new vehicle was purchased using funds from a number of sources including SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, Clothworker’s Foundation, Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, Green Hall Foundation and monies raised in memory of Rob Dunn who went missing in 2019. In total £50,000 was raised allowing the team to buy a new Isuzu and have it professionally kitted out with the necessary equipment to allow the volunteers to continue their life-saving work across Wiltshire and beyond. Money is also being spent on off-road driving qualifications for a number of members of the team to ensure they have the right training across difficult terrain.

Adrian Sawyer, chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, said “The new 4x4 allows us to be even more responsive over rough ground and in the very rural and isolated parts of the county that we are often called to. It has been a long process of planning, fundraising, procuring and now kitting out the vehicle, and it’s testament to the hard work of many of the team that we can finally unveil the new vehicle.”

The team has chosen to name the vehicle ‘Rob’ after over £2,000 was raised for the project by the communities in and around Marlborough in memory of Rob Dunn. Rob went missing in Savernake forest in June 2019, and was sadly located deceased after a seven day search by multiple Search and Rescue teams. Rob was an adventurous individual who regularly went on exciting trips to far flung places, so it is very fitting that his namesake will also be doing the same.

Adrian continues, “In 2018 and 2019 combined we were called out 132 times making the two years our busiest on record. This is partly due to our increased close working with the police, fire and ambulance services, as well as Great Western Hospital, and our ability to quickly mobilise a number of our volunteers anywhere in Wiltshire with very little notice. We are proud of the volunteering that we do and 2019 saw some challenging, emotional and rewarding searches for our team. We are also so grateful for everyone who has given £1 or £10,000 towards the cause. We have to fundraise every penny that we need including headlight bulbs, diesel for our vehicles, bandages, head torches and maps. Fundraising is as vital as our search work because it is what keeps us able to help when our community needs us most.”

Chief Constable, Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard said: “We are extremely grateful to every member of Wiltshire Search and Rescue. They work tirelessly and without reward to support our officers and staff with our work to find and help vulnerable missing people.
“It never ceases to amaze me that there is a whole cohort of volunteers who wait by their phones to leap into action as soon as we call. We thank you all for your dedication and your support.”

The team at Wiltshire Search and Rescue also wants to personally thank the staff at Fussell Wadman in Devizes who have gone above and beyond to ensure the volunteers were able to buy the right vehicle for their needs. The dealership also loaned the team other vehicles for exercises and callouts at no cost but just out of the goodness of their hearts. Matt Croft, Wiltshire Search and Rescue’s vehicle lead and the volunteer who has been responsible for bringing the dream of a new vehicle to reality added, “Their support of the charity has been exemplary and at each step they have gone out of their way to ensure that we always had transport and that we were able to spend our hard-earned fundraised income on the best vehicle we could. Thank you to everyone at Fussell Wadman in Devizes.”

Funders’ Comments
Gareth Shields from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Community Investment
said, “SSEN is pleased to see the awards made from its Resilient Communities Fund put to such good use. What is striking about organisations such as Wiltshire Search and Rescue is the number of skilled volunteers and their dedication to the task. Through the award for a new support vehicle in 2018 and the award for a 4x4 in 2019, we hope that the assistance they have received has contributed towards their ability to rescue people in times of emergency”.
Part of the funding for the 4x4 came from Tesco’s Centenary funding, marking 100 years of the supermarket chain trading in this country. The funding concentrated on groups delivering health and wellbeing benefits.

Claire de Silva, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Our customers across Wiltshire voted to give £12,500 toward the new vehicle as part of a special round of our Bags of Help scheme to mark our centenary. We are proud to support the volunteers of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, and our customers really value the vital lifesaving work they do.”

Trustees of Green Hall Foundation added, “We were delighted to be able to make a contribution towards the Wiltshire Search and Rescue 4x4 project. This project meets with the Trustees’ objectives to help people and communities and will enable Wiltshire Search and Rescue to continue to respond quickly and effectively to the many emergencies they are faced with. Our very best wishes are sent to the team“.

For press information about Wiltshire Search and Rescue, please call Sarah Wolf, PR Lead 07747 733216 or email

About Wiltshire Search and Rescue
Wiltshire Search and Rescue is a non-profit making organisation and all of our members are unpaid volunteers, making no charge for our services.

The team consists of 75 members. All operational members are trained to the Lowland Rescue standards, the UK’s governing body. We have a number of Lowland Rescue trained Team Leaders, Search Planners and Search Managers. One of these members is on duty at all times and will arrange the call-out of the Team via an SMS system once Wiltshire Police has asked for our support. Searches are usually managed on the ground by our own Search Managers who act under the direction of a Police Search Advisor.

There is no typical callout for the volunteers but each one has something in common and that is that they will, without hesitation, support Wiltshire Police 24 hours a day, seven days a week in all weather. Every team member is trained in first aid, radio communications, specialist search skills and navigation and 2019 saw the largest group of volunteers ever since the team was launched in 2000. There are now 83 members who between them provide different roles including search management and planning, fundraising and coordination, PR, financial planning, fitness and equipment. The team also has a specialist water and flood rescue arm who are called on to support both in Wiltshire and surrounding counties, alongside the emergency services such as Fire and Rescue.

About SSEN
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), operating as Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) under licence, is responsible for operating and maintaining the electricity distribution networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the central belt of Scotland, the Mull of Kintyre and the Scottish islands.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks is the new trading name of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc and Southern Electric Power Distribution plc

About Green Hall Foundation
The objective of the Green Hall Foundation is to sustainably improve lives: among the sick, the elderly, the disabled and the disadvantaged particularly in the UK. Overseas project are also supported provided that the applicant charity is registered in the UK.