They set off this morning from Barbury Castle near Swindon to raise money while carrying a stretcher plus a weighted mannequin over rough terrain for 14 kilometres (8.6 miles).
Adrian Sawyer, chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, said: “2020 was a year of record call-outs coupled with a massive drop in donations.
“Today marks the start of us getting back to normal and attacking our £107,000 target for 2021 with the energy and enthusiasm we normally use when finding missing people and getting them to a place of safety.
“As a charity which receives no statutory funding, the pandemic has hit our bank balance hard.
“Every day we have money to spend but with no opportunity to replace it as we usually fundraise outside supermarkets, at events and through team challenges at workplaces.
“We’ve lost over 40 per cent of our donations and with no date in sight to allow us to do face-to-face fundraising, we needed to be inventive.”
The team set off from Barbury Castle near Wroughton heading for Avebury and beyond and are expected to take several hours to complete their trek.
All team members are tested on their ability to walk 8km/5miles, carrying their search kit, in under two hours.
They’re also all expected to be fit enough to support with carrying a stretcher for the last 200m of their fitness assessment, which is vital if their missing person needs to be evacuated.
The volunteers therefore decided to combine these two crucial elements of their role while hoping to raise £8,000.
The event will be Covid-secure and will be run as a relay over the course length.
The volunteers from the team, who help the emergency services to find vulnerable and missing people, are asking people to sponsor their endeavours.
The team’s shopping list of needs includes annual running costs of £26,000, a new incident control vehicle to replace their ageing one which will cost £75,000 plus enough money to make sure that new trainees have the uniform and kit they need once they’ve finished all their mandatory courses.
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