Leicestershire Search and Rescue group wins the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK
Leicestershire Search and Rescue group is thrilled after being handed the coveted Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The prestigious honour is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The expert team’s chief role is to support Leicestershire Police find high-risk missing persons.
They include people who have dementia, mental health conditions and those who have had an emergency while out walking.
Simon Headley, chair of Leicestershire Search and Rescue, said: “The team are absolutely delighted to be receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
“This is a huge achievement for us and recognises the vital work we do.
“The whole team are extremely proud to be part of such an amazing group of people.”
He added: “Our team members come from all walks of life.
“We have serving and retired emergency service workers, people who are self-employed, people who work in education, engineers and more.
“We all have our own reasons for wanting to be part of the team.
“But we all have that one common goal, which is assisting our communities in their time of need and giving something back.”
The team is made up of 44 highly-trained volunteers.
They feature dog handlers, technicians, search planners and managers, team leaders and medics.
The unit also has a nationally-accredited air-scenting dog team and a specialist bicycle team, allowing them to search large or rural areas.
Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the Search and Rescue team will be receiving this prestigious award.
“The team volunteer thousands of hours every year, selflessly giving up their own time to help people in a crisis.
“Their commitment and expertise has generated a very high level of respect from officers and staff across the force and it is a joint effort to secure the safety of a missing person.”
Mr Cole added: “The team are highly trained in planning, coordinating and running searches.
“They will turn out whatever the time, day or weather to save lives and reunite families with their loved ones.
“They are a fantastic support to the force and I am tremendously grateful for the outstanding effort they put into finding missing people.
“This award is truly well deserved and I look forward to congratulating them in person once restrictions are eased.”
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach said: “This is richly deserved recognition of an excellent voluntary team who provide an outstanding service and I’m delighted for everyone involved.
“Often working with the police, their work is often critical in helping to find missing and vulnerable people and lives are saved as a result.”
The group is fully self-sufficient and relies purely on donations, grants and fundraising as a registered charity.
To find out more about the team and their work, please visit www.leicestershire-sar.org.uk.