Providing a 24 hour service 365 days of the year to South, Mid and West Wales

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Team's History

Bridgend Mountain Rescue Team was formed in 1964 by Mike Rudall, after he completed a Rover project in Bridgend, whereby he realised that there was the need for a civilian mountain rescue facility within the South Wales area. Mike was greatly helped and assisted in the initial formation of the team by Colin Pibworth of RAF St.Athan Mountain Rescue Team, who was a recognised authority onRAF Mountain and Desert Rescue. For a number of years Bridgend MRT was a formal sub unit of RAF St.Athan MRT and was the only civilian team to have the prestigious call sign AlpineBravo.

The team initially formed as Bridgend Scout Mountain Rescue, then in 1967 the team changed its name to Bridgend Mountain Rescue team, as it was completely independent from the Scout movement adopting a new badge and had many members throughout all of South Wales. The insignia on the badge was adopted from Keynan Swaili from an original team member and it was in 1971 that the team achieved it's charity status. You can visit the Charity Commission website where all annual accouts of the team can be viewed.
On the 1st May 1983, Mike Ruddal (also known as Nog) tragically died whilst rescuing a group of scouts hill walking in extremely bad weather conditions on Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons. The scouts had fallen down the north face of Pen y Fan and during the subsequent rescue operation, Mike had shielded one of the casualties with his own body, during spontanous rock fall and was killed. A memorial stone for Mike can be seen at the Mountain Centre at Libanus near Brecon.

In 1997 the team changed its name, to Western Beacons Mountain Search and Rescue Team. The name change to Western Beacons Mountain Search and Rescue Team, gave a positive indication of the team’s primary operational area within South Wales, for search and rescue operations. The addition of Search to the team’s name, highlighted the variety and differing nature of the incidents attended, such as urban and rural searching, as well as the search and rescue activities in mountainous and rough terrain.