Water Team to the rescue

Congratulations to our newly qualified @rescue3europe Swift Water and Flood Rescue Technicians (DEFRA module 3) that competed their course over the last few days.

This was part of a busy weekend of training for the team, with 4×4 driver training, technical rope rescue training alongside a swift water and flood rescue technician course all running!

Team members hold this nationally recognised certification to carry out search and rescue operations around bodies of water, including flooding incidents and allows simpler interoperability between different emergency services.

ASSAR is a completely voluntary organisation and relies entirely on public donations to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your support is really appreciated by us and the people we help.


Posted on 01 / 03 / 2024

Final two “Full” members into the team

It’s always a proud moment for all involved when trainees become full team members, even if the ‘ceremony’ is in a wet car park on a Sunday morning! 😂

Congratulations to David and Tim for getting through the recruitment weekend, 6 months of core training to pass and then another few months attending call-outs as trainees. It’s a huge commitment. And it’s great for the rest of the team to see it’s in safe hands for the future.

ASSAR is a completely voluntary organisation and relies entirely on public donations to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your support is really appreciated by us and the people we help.

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Posted on 04 / 02 / 2024

Trainees become “Full” team members

Congratulations to 12 of our trainees who got made up to full members, at our AGM in November. After a gruelling and arduous 12 months of training, alongside building up experience of the teams activities, turns out they’re as crazy as the rest of us and still want to be involved!

Also the baton of team leadership passed from ‘im to ‘im, with Jim taking over from Tim!

ASSAR is a completely voluntary organisation and relies entirely on public donations to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your support is really appreciated by us and the people we help.


Posted on 24 / 11 / 2023

Long Serving Member Singled for Award by Police & Crime Commissioner

Dave Simmonds was recognised for his service to search and rescue today as one of the Police & Crime Commissioner’s ‘silent stars’.

In a ceremony at the Police and Fire Headquarters in Portishead, Dave was presented with the Pride Award along with 9 other people that have shown real dedication to the community of Avon and Somerset.

Dave Simmonds, far right, with his Pride Award from Sue Mountstevens, Avon & Somerset PCC, seated centre.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I always look forward to the Pride Awards as I get to meet the silent stars that often do not get the recognition they so richly deserve. It is an honour to see the dedication, bravery and hard work of the many people living amongst us and award them for their extraordinary commitments.

“It is always humbling to see the unsung heroes of Avon and Somerset who continually go that extra mile to make their communities safer and stronger. I am proud to say that all of these winners have made a lasting impact on the lives of Avon and Somerset residents and I am grateful to every single one of them for their efforts.”

Dave was one of the founding members 44 years ago of what was to become Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue. In November 2018 Dave retired from operational duties and became a life time member. In his career he has attended thousand’s of callouts and always had time to help new team members.

At the ceremony Dave said, “It’s an honour to be singled out but there are lots of other people in the team who have also served and who have helped me achieve what I have got today.”

To read the full story click here to go to the Avon & Somerset PCC website https://www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/News-and-Events/News-Archive/2019/January/PCC-recognises-silent-stars-with-Pride-Award-Ceremony.aspx

Here is Dave’s citation, submitted to help him gain the award:

David ‘The Boy’ Simmonds.

“Dave was probably the youngest member to be founder member of the ‘Avon Rocks Rescue Team’ back in 1974.  He therefore became known – and always has been known as ‘The Boy’.

Bristol City Council had an increasing problem of people self-harming from Clifton Suspension Bridge and surrounding cliffs, and the growing outdoor pursuit use of rock climbing in the Gorge, needed a specialised response.  Dave, stood up and volunteered his services – as a committed youth leader, teacher and outdoor pursuit instructor.

He has been volunteering ever since!  In 1990 the Avon team joined forces with the very similar organisation in Cheddar Gorge – the Cheddar Gorge Rocks Rescue team; and became the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue Team (ASSAR).  The search and rescue team was adopted by Avon & Somerset Police as their main resource for searching and finding missing people in rough terrain, cliff rescue from gorges and quarries.  This still applies today and the team has added flood and water rescue to its competencies after the flooding incident in Gloucestershire on 2007.

Dave has been active though out this time as a SAR volunteer, always on call – 24/7 365; always happy to respond, day or night when called, to add his expertise and experience to any situation.  Dave has developed considerable skills in diplomacy, welfare coaching of other volunteers as well as the required SAR and first aid skills.

It is difficult to quantify exactly who has benefitted from Dave’s voluntary contribution to the community – he must have attended literally thousands of ‘call outs’ in his 44 year service.  He has saved many lives from those in peril, and he has also returned bodies to grieving family and friends – all essential work, which Dave has always undertaken with a gladness of heart and a ‘can do’ spirit.

Posted on 21 / 01 / 2019

Callout on First Day for new Land Rover Discovery D5

On the first day that Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue had the new Land Rover Discovery D5 it attended a callout. The police were concerned for the welfare of an elderly lady with dementia in the Long Ashton area. Fortunately the lady was located safe and well in nearby Hotwells, Bristol (Saturday 3rd November).

The new Discovery D5 is on loan from Jaguar Land Rover to Mountain Rescue England & Wales. It’s touring the country spending two weeks with each team to test its capabilities.

The team had another callout the next day to help search for a vulnerable missing male near Dundry, he was also found on the edge of Bristol and is now receiving the care he needs.

Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue have had one of their busiest years attending 35 callouts so far and our members have given over 1800hrs of time to these incidents, let alone all the training and fundraising required. The callouts mainly involve searching for vulnerable missing people who may be suicidal or suffering from mental illness, but also involve cliff rescues.

Jim Hardcastle, a member of Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue said, ‘We had only just received the new Discovery D5 when the request for help from the police came. And then another callout the next day. Luckily in both incidents the missing person was located alive, but this is often not the case. As a team we’ve been involved in some very tragic and difficult incidents. As members we have to respond from wherever we are at that time and then may need to access some very difficult locations, so it’s a real test for the Discovery D5, both on and off-road, when it spends time with a search and rescue team.’

The new Discovery D5 pictured with ASSARs Defender on Cheddar Cliff’s.

ASSAR and Discovery D5 on Cheddar Cliffs ASSAR and Discovery D5 on Cheddar Cliffs

Discovery D5 from MREW on a callout


Posted on 08 / 11 / 2018