A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to replace a vehicle that plays a crucial role in the emergency service for Cleveland that has failed its MOT.

The Viking 1 is Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team’s ‘Control’ vehicle that predominantly helps when the volunteers are engaged in search activity.

To replace this vehicle the team will have to deplete its reserves and spend £36,000.

Team leader Malcolm Selby said: “It costs almost £30,000 per year just to keep the team operational as a result we need to increase our fund raising initiatives in order to be able to purchase a new vehicle and cover the normal running costs of the team.”

During the last 12 months it has been called-out to 30 incidents – just under 50 per cent of all of the incidents responded to by the Mountain Rescue Team.

It is the major control vehicle for the team, accommodating a complex set of radios, computers and associated mapping systems, together with screens and white boards, which provide the basic tools for planning, co-ordinating and executing search activity.

It also provides shelter for the volunteer team or other emergency personnel, such as the police who are frequently involved in several hours of searching regardless of the conditions.

Dean McMann, the team’s transport officer said: “It is now 22-years-old and despite a regular maintenance schedule it has come to the end of its working life. It had formerly seen service with the Fire Brigade but the chassis is now completely rusted and the engine and gear box are showing signs of extreme wear. Getting it repaired is not an option.”

The team is looking for help as it's fundraising campaign gets underway.

Donations can be made by going to Cleveland Mountain Rescue’s Just Giving site or via the Team’s web site at www.clevelandmrt.org.uk