Henry Smith is Business Development Manager at Cosmic, and in his own words below he traces the journey of his involvement with Dartmoor Search and Rescue, which this week has resulted in him qualifying as DRST Ashburton crew and earning his Red Jacket. Henry joins a team of 60 volunteers carrying out this vital work on Dartmoor and beyond – more information can be found here: https://www.dsrtashburton.org.uk/
The whole Cosmic team congratulated Henry this week on his brilliant achievement, and we all feel very proud to have initiated this excellent outcome.
“When I joined Cosmic in April 2017, one of my first tasks was to oversee the support we were offering our nominated Charity of the Year. I was checking in with the team at Dartmoor Search and Rescue – Ashburton (DSRT Ashburton) which Cosmic had already been supporting with digital marketing training and SEO advice. As I learned more about the charity, I started to take a real interest in their dedication and support for people in need.
With several outdoor pursuits qualifications under my belt, and a new found love of Dartmoor, I put my hat in the ring and applied to join the team in October 2018. A gruelling all-day and all-night assessment took place, testing my “moorland abilities” and interrogating my motivations for wanting to join the team. This, we were told, was not about heroics or bravado – it was about altruism, caring and quiet dedication. I thought I had totally flunked the assessment – it left me exhausted. But needless to say, I was successful and joined 6 other new trainees. What followed was 18 months of hard work, packed with laughter, tears, and long nights in every kind of weather that can be experienced! The team meet every Wednesday from 7pm – 11pm, come rain or shine, and stick to a packed schedule of training exercises. Additional training is covered at weekends too. Activities include rope and climbing skills, swift water rescue, advanced casualty care, radio communications, and the dreaded navigation training!
We are continually assessed, including during the regular Search and Rescue (SAR) simulated exercises. The year of training culminates in an all-night navigation exercise, taking place from 7pm until 3am on a moonless night in January. Up on the high moorland, in minus 2 degrees, and six hours into focussed navigation – you start to go a little bit bonkers! The comfort of your icy tent at 3am is welcome relief! Passing the assessment is a real badge of honour.
This April, three years on from first learning about the charity, I have been awarded my red jacket. I am incredibly proud to have succeeded in joining DSRT Ashburton – part of Mountain Rescue England and Wales. I am one of three of the 2018 intake to succeed, joining the team of 60 volunteers. The charity survives solely on donations from the public, with members giving their time without payment.
We are on call-out duty 24/7 all year round. Taking our orders from the Police, we’re dedicated to assisting the emergency services with the search and rescue of the lost, missing, injured and vulnerable including those with dementia, mental health illnesses and children. The Ashburton team cover a vast landscape, from the centre of Dartmoor, south-eastwards to the coast at Salcombe, and all the way northwards to Lyme Regis. Everything in between is within our “patch”. You can find out moor(!) and support the team here: https://www.dsrtashburton.org.uk/