ONE of the best-loved pursuits for people living in East Lancashire is walking in the scenic countryside. But ramblers are safe in the knowledge that charities like the Bowland Mountain Rescue Team are there in case of emergency. Reporter Dan Clough spoke to team member Paul Durham who is about to celebrate a very special anniversary.

IT has been a busy weekend for Paul Durham and the Bowland Mountain Rescue Team.

He has just come back from rescuing a woman from a fall in the Trough of Bowland.

It is the second incident the team has been called out to this weekend.

“We were paged about a woman who had slipped and hurt her back in the Grizedale Reservoir area of the Trough of Bowland,” he said.

“We had to get to her and put her in the back of our Land Rover so she could get out safely and be taken to hospital.”

Mr Durham, of Chorley, is about to celebrate 40 years of service with the charity.

The father-of-two, who is married to Katherine and has an eight-month-old grandchild, joined the South Ribble Mountain Rescue Team on January 26, 1974.

The 59-year-old said: “I was doing a bit of fell walking and rambling with my uncle and we had seen some incidents but didn’t have the skills to help.

“Then I saw a piece in the paper about the mountain rescue team and it had a number for the team leader so I gave him a call and he said ‘come down and let’s have a look at what you are made of’.”

Mr Durham’s first call-out was that same year. He said: “We were up in Borrowdale covering a fell race and a climber fell off and had serious head injuries.

“I had only been in the team six months so I just stood and watched what everybody did.

“That is how it works today with the newest recruits.”

Mr Durham, who works for a building materials firm, said he had been involved in several high-profile rescue efforts, including the Grayrigg fatal derailment in Cumbria in 2007 and the Cumbrian floods of 2009, as well as the Derrick Bird shootings the following year.

He was also part of the team called to the infamous Morecambe Bay cockling disaster in 2004, where 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned.

There have also been some bizarre callouts.

Mr Durham said: “We once had a call from a woman who was late for a dinner party and wanted to know if we would give her a lift.”

Bowland Mountain Rescue Team relies on donations and receives no funding from the Government.

To help out, text RESQ1 followed by either £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.