THE Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue team has launched an appeal for new recruits to join them at the turn of the year.

The past two weeks have been particularly busy for the team, with searches in the Middleton-in-Teesdale, Sherburn and Stanley areas of County Durham.

A search of the moors above Mickleton and the reservoirs of Lunedale for Robert English went on over six days without success.

Meanwhile, a search at Stanley had a successful outcome after a few hours when another elderly man was found suffering from hypothermia.

Anyone who is relatively fit and has basic hill skills is welcome to apply to the group.

Training in hill craft, mountain rescue skills and first aid will be given during a one-year probationary period, after which successful applicants can attend call-outs.

Team leader Alan Best said: "We are looking for active individuals with an interest in the outdoors and mountain rescue.

"They will be trained to operate in any weather and on any terrain. As the team covers the whole of County Durham, not just the high fells, and many of our call-outs are to semi-urban areas, team members can live anywhere in the county."

The team is holding an open evening at its rescue centre, behind Barnard Castle police station, on January 9, at 7.30pm.

The event will show prospective applicants what the team does and what training is required, and offers a chance to meet team members.

Anyone interested in attending the event can contact (01833) 630999 and leave a message with a contact number.