MEMBERS of Clapham based Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) have bid a fond farewell to a vital member of their team, and his two search dogs.

Bill Batson MBE and his wife, Caroline, together with their dogs, Glen and Angus, have moved from Austwick to Aberdeenshire, and to see them on their way, their old colleagues presented them with a bottle of whisky and a special cake , with treats for the dogs.

Bill took part in a number of joint services expeditions to the Himalayas and was formerly team leader with RAF Leeming - and Linton on Ouse - Mountain Rescue Team. He was then at RAF Leuchars, before becoming chief instructor for the RAF Mountain Rescue Service.

On retiring from the RAF, Bill continued in a training role and was training manager for Lyon Equipment for the past 12 years, providing training and advice on industrial rope access as well as ‘rigging for rescue’ for both CRO and Mountain Rescue (England and Wales).

During his time with the CRO, Bill helped improve the volunteers rope work technique, while Angus in particular had gained a phenomenal reputation for speed with which he could find people missing on the fell.

CRO chairman, Sean Whittle, said they all would be sorely missed. Bill intends to continue running his search dogs, once they have all settled in to their new home.