West Mercia Search & Rescue was born in June 2007 and adopted its first formal constitution in January 2008. We registered as a charity in the following month.
It began as a small group of water rescue enthusiasts who trained as Community First Responders in the Worcester area.
In 2010, members received commendations from the West Midlands Ambulance Service for their ‘above and beyond’ response during Worcester’s floods that year.
In 2011 we received a one-off grant from DEFRA to train and equip a team which can provide flood-rescue capabilities across the UK when needed. This enabled the team to grow to 24 members, all of whom were trained as boat crew and flood-rescue technicians.
In 2011, the team was accepted as a member of the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue, which governs the provision and training standards of Lowland Rescue teams across the UK.
In 2012, the team expanded its logistical base with a second base in Telford, to answer calls to Shropshire more readily.
In October 2012, our members were training in water rescue skills near Machynlleth when the April Jones search became a major incident. Our members were amongst the first to offer their skills in the search, which went on to become the biggest deployment of UKSAR teams in the UK.
The team also led woodland and rural searches during the hunt for Georgia Williams, a teenager from Shropshire who went missing in May 2013.
Georgia’s memory lives on in the form of the Georgia Williams Trust, who in turn thank us for their work by holding joint fundraisers for the two charities.
The team was heavily involved, alongside our sister team Warwickshire Search and Rescue, in the search for Ted Hemming in Alcester. Ted went missing overnight from a respite care home, and we led the search alongside a huge community response from the people of Alcester.
Happily, Ted was found safe and well the next afternoon in a nearby field.
And we utilised boat, bank and land-search teams in major searches around the Shrewsbury area in 2014 for Daniel Hodgin.
The vast majority of searches that the team have been involved in over the years are incidents which cannot be made public due to the vulnerable nature of the people involved.
It is public record that West Mercia SAR has been involved in the search for:
Thomas Bebbington – Shrewsbury
Daniel Hodgin – Shrewsbury
Simon Evans – Wyre Forest
Ozi Akerele – Coventry
Martyn Bradshaw – Leamington
M Bispham – Shropshire
Ernest Upward – Upton
Monica Armstrong – Hereford
Vincent Quinn – Hereford
Lewis Mullan – Worcester
Pawel Przydalski – Leamington
Baljeev Johal – Ryton
Ted Hemming – Alcester
L Ross – Malvern
and many more.