The Cave Rescue Organisation, based in the Yorkshire Dales, was chosen by freemasons to mark their charity’s 150th anniversary in the West Riding. The CRO, based in Clapham, although now in North Yorkshire, falls within the historic West Riding of Yorkshire.
The rescue team, which operates both above and below ground, is one of five organisations to benefit from grants from the masons and was nominated by the Wenning Lodge at Bentham, 7km (4½ miles) from the organisation’s base. The masons have chosen organisations within the West Riding to benefit donations, including a Calderdale search-and-rescue vehicle and projects to help sports facilities, young people and disabled students.
The CRO cash will go towards its building and educational project.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Despite its name, CRO provides a ‘safety net’ for visitors and local people alike, not just those engaged in active outdoor pursuits, but casual strollers, people missing from home – even stranded animals.”
The grant will help improve training facilities and provide safety education for young people, for both local youth groups and visiting school parties. Clapham has a local-authority-run outdoor education centre.
Members of the masons’ Wenning lodge learned of their successful application at a presentation dinner in September at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
CRO chairman Jack Pickup said: “Our members often think that people see CRO only in terms of our claim to being the world’s first cave rescue team, but they underestimate people’s understanding of what we do.
“It is particularly gratifying that the masons, in common with several other community-based organisations and in celebrating 150 years of their own charitable works, should recognise the voluntary effort, made by CRO members for the benefit of the whole community, as we are in the run-up to our own 75th anniversary.”
In the last ten months, the Cave Rescue Organisation has helped 93 walkers, 34 cavers, four climbers, three mountain bikers, three people ‘at risk’ or missing from home, two canyoners, one fellrunner, one rock scrambler, three sheep and two dogs. The team also conducted a search of fields around a burned-out farm-house.