SARA rescuers back on track after raid on boathouse

Kidderminster Shuttle: BACK ON TRACK: Steve Bradley was devastated after the break in but SARA is now running at full service again. Picture: Miriam Balfry. 151421M Buy this photo BACK ON TRACK: Steve Bradley was devastated after the break in but SARA is now running at full service again. Picture: Miriam Balfry. 151421M

A LIFESAVING search and rescue organisation is back on track thanks to a flurry of public support and donations.

Volunteers at Wyre Forest Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) said they had been “overwhelmed” by people’s response to the news last month that its rescue station at the former Lea Castle Hospital site in Cookley was broken into, causing between £8,000 and £10,000 worth of damage to vehicles, boats and buildings.

Since the incident on Monday, April 7, and following widespread publicity in The Shuttle and on Facebook and Twitter, the group has received about £3,500 in donations from members of the public and is still to receive more money, which has been pledged.

Station officer Steve Bradley said: “Things are looking fairly good at the moment. All the vehicles are back in service and have been repaired, so we are back up to full capacity.

“We have had more than a few donations, but the main thing is the amount of messages we have had of support – it has been fantastic for people to stop us in the street. It really has restored the volunteers’ faith in humanity.

“There has not been a point in the last 10 years I have been here where we have felt so low as on that Monday, when we realised what had happened, but what has happened since has restored our faith in the public. We have had donations from as far as Leicester and Moreton-in-Marsh.”

Two of SARA’s rescue Land Rovers were damaged, with bonnets ripped off and windows smashed.

Intruders broke into one of the two boat sheds, taking a compressor and two full fuel tanks, and one of the inflatable “banana” boats. Windows were broken at the site’s main building, but offenders did not enter it.

“The office is all repaired and is as secure as we can make it at the moment, but we are working on moving stations,” Mr Bradley added. “We would like to say a massive thank you to the public, it was something we really did not expect to happen.”

To volunteer with SARA, call Cally Carter on 01562 850155 or email SARA.WFRS.Supporters@sara-rescue.org.uk

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