A MOUNTAIN rescue team is reflecting on a busy year of Covid challenges and dozens of rescues.

The volunteers of Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team responded to 58 search and rescue call-outs in 2020, along with dealing with the added pressures brought about by Covid-19.

Although the number of call-outs was slightly down on the 61 of 2019, the pandemic caused a significant impact on the team as their members had to adopt additional precautions.

This included wearing additional PPE on operations whilst at the same time scaling back on their training to avoid contact.

All this came at a time when their normal fundraising events were all but wiped out.

During the first lockdown period the team had a quiet time as people largely adhered to the then ‘stay at home’ message – there were only three searches for vulnerable missing people but no rescues.

When that national lockdown ended they became a lot busier, with seven call-outs in less than a month - including three in one week.

In the second half of the year, the number of call-outs eased off to normal levels although there was a noticeable increase in December with six.

In total, the volunteer team members devoted 2,212 hours to call-outs in 2020.

Despite these challenges the team has also provided additional support to local communities, for example, by collecting bulk PPE supplies and delivering them to local care homes.

Just before Christmas they were also heavily involved in delivering food hampers to children in the area.

Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team leader, Carl Faulkner said: "We all hope for a better year in 2021; the previous year held unique challenges.

"The team has, however, always responded when called upon which is something of which we can all be proud of."

He said that the Team would like to thank their many supporters, fundraisers and donors including members of the public, local businesses and organisations.

Their continued support means that the charity can continue to provide its search and rescue services as normal with its running costs met for the winter. They hope to be able to resume their traditional and essential fundraising activities later in 2021.