South Scotland

Borders Water Rescue Unit appeals for vital funds

Borders Water Rescue Team Image copyright BWRT

A rescue team involved in the emergency response to Storm Desmond in the Borders has appealed for vital funds.

Volunteers with the Borders Water Rescue Unit helped evacuate people from their homes on Saturday as the River Teviot threatened to break its banks.

They are all divers who are trained to carry out search, rescue and recovery operations in local rivers and lochs.

However the charity, which is entirely self-funding, needs to raise £50,000 to safeguard its future.

The group is made up of 23 volunteers from professions that include building, painting, engineering and teaching.

They believe their work with the rescue unit will be in increasing demand in the future as extreme weather events appear to become more common.

Image copyright BWRT

Team leader David Fuller-Shapcott, a farmer from near Kelso, said: "We are looking at significant climate change issues. We have got more major weather events.

"The rivers respond much more as a consequence and water rescue is becoming much more of an issue than it used to be."

As well as responding to flooding events, the unit works alongside the emergency services in search and rescue situations on inland waters in the Lothians and the Borders.

The team also helps support water-based community events such as the Common Ridings water crossings.

Members now need to raise £50,000 for a vehicle which can tow their equipment.

Mr Fuller-Shapcott said: "We are at a crossroads as a team and we need to be thinking in terms of securing a vehicle to complement what we already do.

"We have two boats. We have to actually choose between two boats when we go to an incident at the moment because we can't take both."

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