Rescued Cheddar Gorge Climber Tells His Story

Casualty eye view. A member of ASSAR scrambles up Cheddar Gorge with Fire & Rescue Service to get to Simon.

It’s very rare that we help to rescue climbers these days. Climbers equipment, self-rescue skills and the rockfaces they climb on have all improved over the years.

Typically we get called out to search for and rescue ‘despondents’, people who are suicidal, or people who are vulnerable for mental health reasons. Invariably these call-outs can be quite tragic and mean that we can’t share many details about them.

Our recent callout on the evening of the 22nd May to help rescue a climber with a broken ankle and his partner is a rare occasion that we can share more details and hear from the casualty.

Simon Carobene and his partner were scrambling up the cliff to the start of their climbing route for the evening when he slipped.

We were called out at 19.39 to work alongside the Fire & Rescue Service and South West Ambulance Service to locate the climber, stabilise the injury and bring him down to the road and the waiting ambulance.

Simon reported, “I broke my ankle on the way to the start of a climbing route in Cheddar Gorge, and had to be rescued due to the awkward location. One of the ASSAR members, who as I remember was called Ian, climbed up to me and gave me a blanket and put my ankle into a splint. He also kept me company while we were waiting for the rope system to be set up, and then helped get me into a stretcher and lower me down to the road. I would very much like to thank him.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to ASSAR along with the fire and ambulance services and everyone who helped to get me down from the cliffs. They did an outstanding job of getting me out of a very tricky situation, and I really can’t thank everyone enough.

After being rescued, I spent five days in Weston General Hospital. Unfortunately I broke my ankle in three places and so had to have surgery to install metal fixtures on both sides of the ankle. I have been resting up at home for the past week and I am now slowly starting to feel better. It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing any climbing for some time now though!”

All the members of ASSAR wish Simon a speedy recovery and a long climbing career ahead of him.

Posted on 09 / 06 / 2017

TLT Solicitors Conquer Welsh 3 Peaks for ASSAR

A team of solicitors and lawyers from TLT conquered the Welsh 3 Peaks challenge on Saturday 27th May to raise funds for Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue.

Snowdon (1085m), Cadair Idris (893m) and Pen y Fan (886m), the three highest peaks in Wales all have to be conquered in less than 24 hours.

A brief storm at the start of Snowdon at 5am didn’t dampen their spirits. They then faced very difficult weather conditions on Cadair Idris with visibility down to a few metres, horizontal rain and very strong winds but completed the challenge. Pen y Fan was shrouded in low cloud and the light was fading fast but they completed the challenge in 17 hours.

Four team members helped them in the build up and then escorted them throughout the day. An ASSAR member said, “We were really impressed by their positive attitude and determination. The weather conditions were not as forecast and for some of them it was the first time they had faced wind and rain like that on a mountain.”

All the members of ASSAR thank TLT and their staff for their amazing fundraising effort that will help us to help people far from help.

Posted on 29 / 05 / 2017

Co-op Local Community Fund Helps Search and Rescue

Even we need help sometimes. That’s why we’re delighted to be chosen as one of the causes for the Co-op Local Community Fund, and here’s how you can help us to help people far from help.

Every time members buy Co‑op branded products and services, from buying a loaf of bread to planning a funeral, 1% of their spend goes to a local cause, like ours. The Co-op has even kick-started the fundraising by giving us a share of the 5p customers pay for plastic bags now.

Find out what we’re fundraising for here

You can help us to help people far from help by becoming Co‑op members, if you aren’t already sign up here.

ASSAR Co-op Local Community Fund

Posted on 19 / 04 / 2017


Our challenging role is to be made easier with new VHF digital radios thanks to a donation by the Thatchers Foundation.

We work closely with Avon & Somerset Police to typically search for and rescue missing individuals in difficult ground, including cliffs and water, covering around 1800 sq miles throughout Somerset, Bristol and Bath. The 50 volunteers that make Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue, are on call 24/7. A registered charity, we receive no funding from any public body and rely entirely on public subscription.

Chris Thring, chair of Avon & Somerset Search & Rescue comments, “Our volunteers provide a vital service in searching and rescuing from difficult ground. We rely on financial support to keep us going, we are therefore very grateful to The Thatchers Foundation for their donation which will be put to valuable use through contributing to the purchase of new digital VHF radios.

“Radio communication between the search and rescue teams, and between the search control vehicle and individual teams is essential for the effectiveness of the work we undertake. The radios we currently use, analogue VHF, are increasingly unreliable and their effectiveness is poor. The new digital VHF radios will have many advantages and will allow our teams to function effectively to serve the population.”

Mike Williamson, Trustee of The Thatchers Foundation, adds, “With the Mendips on our doorstep we are very aware of the commitment and dedication of the volunteers at the Avon & Somerset Search & Rescue. They deserve to have the most effective equipment to assist them in their challenging work, we are therefore very pleased to make this donation of £5,000 which will bring them towards their target for the purchase of their new radio communications.”

The Thatchers Foundation has been set up by the Thatcher family to help and support community and charitable activities, in particular in the parishes of Sandford, Winscombe and adjoining villages. Contributions to individuals or organisations may be through financial grants, or through the donation of time and physical help. For more information about the Thatchers Foundation, visit
ASSAR and Thatchers Foundation

Posted on 25 / 02 / 2017

New State of the Art Vehicle to Help Search for Missing People

A brand new vehicle that will Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue becomes operational on 1st November. The new Incident Control vehicle is fitted with state of the art technology to help find missing people.

Adrian Payne, ASSAR Vehicle Officer said, ‘This new Incident Control vehicle takes us to the cutting edge of being able to help people far from help. We have to be able to plan and coordinate search and rescue operations from a wide variety of locations. Typically we get called out to remote places in the middle of the night and have to be able to operate with no or limited support. It’s been a huge fundraising effort from everyone and lots of time fitting the kit from fellow team members but we know this will help us become even more effective.’

Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue (ASSAR) are the police’s chosen search and rescue resource in Avon and Somerset. Staffed by volunteers they are on call 24/7 365 days a year, whatever the weather or time of day. They get called out around 35 times a year to find missing high-risk and vulnerable people. They have been involved with high profile cases such as Charlotte Bevan and Joanna Yeates in Avon Gorge along with many incidents in Cheddar Gorge and across the area.

The vehicle is a long wheel base VW Crafter. It has been fitted with the latest technology by specialists within ASSAR. To help plan searches and coordinate rescues the operational control area has;

  • A server, Local Area Network and wi-fi connectivity
  • Two docking stations and 24” monitors for Toughbook laptops loaded with computer mapping and software for administering a search
  • Three of the latest digital radios and a wide range of charging points
  • Planning area for collaboration with other emergency services
  • Welfare facilities to cater for ASSARs search specialists
  • A second bulkhead fitted to contain a caged unit for ASSARs search kit and stretchers

The trustees of ASSAR would like to thanks all the team members who helped fundraise for the vehicle over the last few years and the community of Avon & Somerset who have been so generous. We would also like to thank Pearce Bros and Eurosigns for their kind support.

ASSAR Incident Control VehicleASSAR Incident Control Vehicle monitorsASSAR Incident Control Vehicle interior

Posted on 01 / 11 / 2015