THREE stalwarts of a search and rescue team stood down this month after a combined 64 years of service.

The contributions to the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team by president, Lord Barnard, team leader, Alan Best and secretary Lesley Sutherland were praised. Lord Barnard, joined as president more than 30 years ago, shortly after the team was founded.

He was presented with a scrap book containing articles and photographs chronicling his association with the team.

Mr Best joined the team, who are still all volunteers, in 1980 and took over as leader in 1994.

He is leaving to fulfil mountaineering ambitions with his partner Ms Sutherland throughout Europe.

Ms Sutherland joined the group 11 years ago, specialising in medical matters, before taking on the secretary's role