A team of West Sussex firefighters have been thanked for their search and rescue work following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
Six members of the county’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) flew out to help following April’s devastating quake, that left more than 8,000 people dead and countless homeless.
They were tasked with searching an area north of Kathmandu’s centre in the suburb of Chandol, along with surrounding areas.
The West Sussex TRU is based in Horley, but members come from across the county.
Five of the six who travelled to Nepal - Matt Simmons, from East Wittering; Owen Marfany, from Horsham; Antony Walker and Neil Graham, from Shoreham; and Joe Sacco, from Worthing – spent ten days on the humanitarian mission.
Their team leader, Adrian Kirkpatrick, from Crawley Down, remained in Nepal a few days longer while arrangements were made for key equipment to be returned home.
As well as providing vital humanitarian aid, international missions allow our firefighters to bring back vital skills for incidents closer to home.
As the West Sussex team leads on logistics for the UK they also arranged for a local vet to travel with them to care for the search and rescue dogs who travelled to Nepal.
The whole TRU team, along with their families, were invited to West Chiltington and Thakeham Cricket Club yesterday evening (June 25) for an event hosted by WSCC Chairman Pat Arculus, who after welcoming everyone thanked the team for their dedication in protecting our residents and in their work abroad.
She said: “I would like to give special recognition to the families who are left behind and to those who support the team at home.”
She was joined by Vice Chairman Lionel Barnard, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services David Barling and Council Leader Louise Goldsmith, who told TRU members: “We all thank you for your commitment and for always being on standby to go out and help people in situations that must be incredibly difficult and challenging. We also very much appreciate your work in West Sussex. I honestly believe we have the best Fire & Rescue Service in the country.”
These thanks were echoed by Sean Ruth, Executive Director of Communities and Public Protection and Chief Fire Officer, who said: “You are a really skilled and motivated team, not just with the work you do overseas but for everything you do every day for communities across West Sussex. You have all been invited tonight because it is a real team effort, there is the team that stay behind and provide cover here and the support you all receive to do this from your families.”
The TRU was set up in 2006 and the mission to Nepal is the sixth the team has undertaken in as many years, following previous efforts to help in Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and Bosnia.
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