MEMBERS of Exmoor Search and Rescue Team (ESRT) have had a busy, and wet, run-in to the New Year with two missions on the same day this week.

The team was called out mid-morning during torrential rain as Storm Gerrit struck the area to help Devon and Cornwall Police search for a missing man on the Blackdown Hills.

Search dogs Lottie and Jack were deployed in woods on the hills in extremely difficult conditions with ‘huge amounts of rainfall and very strong, fast wind gusts’.

As the search was underway, the charity received a second call to help with a fallen horse rider on the Brendon Hills.

The search and rescue team split up with some continuing the missing person search and others going to the horse rider incident near the Raleghs Cross Inn, on the edge of Exmoor.

The crew deployed to Exmoor worked with a hazardous area response team and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust paramedics to carry the injured horse rider through muddy, waterlogged ground to a waiting ambulance.

It was a multi-agency response which also involved Devon and Cornwall Police and the Devon Air Ambulance.

Meanwhile, the two search dogs were able to guide their search and rescue team to the missing man on the Blackdowns.

By contrast, the ESRT volunteers were able to enjoy their annual Christmas party, held in the Simonsbath House Hotel.

ESRT is appealing for organisations making up their minds which charities to support in 2024 to choose it.

The search and rescue team is seeking ‘visionary sponsors’ to help its mission of assisting the police and ambulance services to rescue people from remote areas, save lives, and alleviate distress, any day, any time, and in any weather.

The team pointed out ESRT did not receive any direct Government funding and relied entirely on people’s goodwill and the hard work of members.

All donations go directly towards its running costs and purchasing essential life-saving equipment, maintaining vehicles and base, and training team members.

It costs £25,000 a year to keep the team operational, all of which is raised through donations and sponsorship.

Anybody who wants to support Exmoor Search and Rescue Team should email [email protected].