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Dorking volunteers join Surrey Search and Rescue

By Leatherhead Advertiser  |  Posted: December 05, 2011

CALL OF DUTY:  Christian Armstrong (front row, second from right) and Andy Macauley (far right) are among 12 new Sursar volunteers

Christian Armstrong, front row, second from right, and Andy Macauley, far right, are among 12 new Sursar volunteers

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TWO Mole Valley residents have joined a team of volunteers to help find missing people.

Christian Armstrong and Andy Macauley, both from Dorking, are two of 12 new volunteers to have qualified as lowland search technicians with Surrey Search and Rescue (Sursar).

Mr Armstrong, from Hampstead Road, signed up after reading an appeal from the charity in the Advertiser.

The 22-year-old said: "At first I wanted to get involved with mountain rescue, but there aren't many mountains in Mole Valley so when I saw the appeal I thought I'd help out with Sursar instead.

"I didn't have much spare time on my hands but I had a little and thought 'what better way to spend it than by helping other people?'

"It's a fantastic feeling and I'd recommend it to anyone. I've met loads of new people and learnt great life skills like communication and teamwork."

Sursar was set up last year to work with the emergency services in the hunt for missing people, and all members are volunteers who even use their own vehicles and pay for their own fuel when called into action.

The team is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has already been called out 59 times this year.

Deputy training officer Sarah Nuttall said: "Search is a highly skilled activity and requires a great deal of training and commitment.

"All the team are volunteers who give up a huge amount of their time for training and call-outs. We are delighted that these guys passed."

Despite adding 12 new recruits to the roster, Sursar is always on the lookout for additional help from local residents.

Jon Rumbol, Sursar search dog handler, added: "We need two crucial things to operate – volunteers and funds.

"Any donation, however small, will help to ensure that the team is able to operate; but corporate support or sponsorship would help to secure the team's future.

"We can only exist with the support of the communities we serve, so if you can provide your time as a volunteer or funding, please help us save lives."

To find out more, visit www.sursar.org.uk

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