LONG-SERVING members of Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation have been recognised for their stalwart service during an awards night.

The event was to honour the contributions made by many of its members to the team’s mission of saving lives above and below ground in the Yorkshire Dales and whose cumulative time in service amounted to 675 years.

About 70 members gathered to celebrate the event, held at the rural surroundings of Bentham Golf Club. The evening was led by the CRO chairman, Sean Whittle, and presentations were made by the president of the team, Ben Lyon.

Mr Lyon is the founder and owner of Lyon Equipment, Tebay - a long-standing partner and sponsor of the CRO.

Long Service Awards were presented to a total of 25 members. Internal CRO team awards were presented to nine members for 10 and 20 years’ service respectively.

Awards from the national representative bodies for mountain and cave rescue – Mountain Rescue of England and Wales (MREW) and the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) - were also presented. These national awards were given to 16 members: - seven for 25 years’ service, seven for 40 years’ service and two who had each given 50 years’ service.

The fifty years’ service awards were presented to Jack Pickup and Roy Holmes, both of whom have been very active members of the team and the local caving scene since the 1970s.

Both still continue to ‘turn out’ as operational support members; providing valuable logistic support to incidents.

In total the recipients of the awards have amassed a total of 675 years of voluntary service to mountain and cave rescue in the Yorkshire Dales.

The team also gave awards to two new ‘life members’ of the team – Dave Gallivan and Fred Weekes.

Both men have now retired from active service but were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the team while they were members.

The event was hailed a great social event for the team, and a fabulous opportunity to reflect on the value its longest serving members have given to the local community over many years.

In his address to the members Mr Lyon said it was ‘wonderful to see so many long time members, and familiar faces’ but he added that is was ‘heartening to see younger members coming through to carry on the great work.’

The CRO was originally formed in 1935 and currently has over 80 volunteer rescuers, comprising of an operational team of 52 with a further 36 in a support role who carry out rescues.