Rory delivers keynote speech at UK’s biennial Mountain Rescue conference

Rory had the honour of being the first MP to ever give a keynote speech at the UK Mountain Rescue’s bi-ennial conference, held last weekend at the Headingly University campus in Leeds, and attended by teams from around the UK. The conference this year focused on technology and its applications for mountain rescue and search-and-rescue operations.

As MP for Penrith and the Border and Chairman of the APPG on Mountain Rescue, Rory is acutely aware of the essential work that this voluntary service undertakes for those looking to enjoy Britain’s mountains. On his recent walking tour of his constituency and the Borders, Rory had the pleasure of talking with Mountain Rescue teams from Patterdale, Cockermouth and Keswick, gaining deeper insights into the issues of greatest importance to those who volunteer.

Drawing on recommendations from the Mountain Rescue’s own most recent report into Mountain Rescue in the Lake District – Rescue 2020 – Rory looked at the organisation’s colourful 80-year history before turning to his hopes for its future.  Rory defended the right for people to use the mountains freely and sought to dismiss any ideas that the Mountain Rescue should ever charge for its services, or that what was needed from government was more ‘red tape’ – spoiling the public’s ability to enjoy the countryside. His sentiments were shared by a packed audience.

Rory said: “It is a real honour to speak today – the first MP to do so, and as Chairman of the APPG for Mountain Rescue in Parliament. Finally, Mountain Rescue’s voice is being heard in Westminster. But we still need to do all we can to help Mountain Rescue operate with a minimum of red tape, and a maximum of support. For example, we need much improved understanding between, and awareness of, the various emergency services that operate on our mountains. This, and much else in the RESCUE 2020 report, are true nationally, not only of the Lake District. Mountain Rescue is one of only a very few truly great acts of public service; the public loves our volunteers, and Mountain Rescue are true volunteers, unpaid professionals providing a totally free service to our communities. This ethos allows everyone to roam free in our mountains, and this we must preserve at all costs: Mountain Rescue must not become a corporate identity – its local ownership, and precisely its local knowledge and expertise, is what is essential to maintaining this community-based emergency rescue

Richard Warren, Chairman of LDSAMRA, said” Rory delivered a supportive and motivating address at the conference. We are lucky that our local MPs are extremely strong supporters of mountain rescue and ensure that our efforts are recognised in both Whitehall and our local communities.  Rory in particular is well known within the corridors of power for his forthright approach to dealing with issues.”

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