EMERGENCY services such as police, paramedics and the fire service work tirelessly every day to protect people and save lives.

Another vital service that contributes immensely to helping people is the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, which covers a large area of Greater Manchester and land in south Lancashire.

The voluntary organisation was established in 1968, and has around 50 members who give up their free time to train and put their skills to good use on search operations.

Among its resources is a rescue helicopter and the unit's specialist water team may be deployed in certain incidents.

The Bolton News: The Bolton News:

Alistair Greenough, 49, a charge nurse at Warrington General Hospital, has been a volunteer at the team for 18 years, serving as a training officer and team leader in that time.

Now an assistant team leader at the charity, Alistair said: "You need to be an outdoor person first and foremost.

"There are people in the team that you would never normally meet from all walks of life and backgrounds who want to serve their community.

"We can get called by police, the fire service and the ambulance service for jobs to search for a known person in a known location.

"It will be in areas for difficult access and the search work is primarily with the police to look for people with some of them having dementia.

"If there is a call out it gets sent to everyone and on a good day around 25 people are available to go to it.

"We have had around 55 jobs this year and on average we get around 120 in a year.

"The highest I have seen was 200, which was my first year.

"Rivington is a hotspot that we cover.

"We are terrible perfectionists and are really hard on ourselves after jobs to make it better next time.

"We enjoy it when a job goes well though and we would hope that if something happened to us somebody would go and look for us."

The Bolton News: The Bolton News:

Alistair added that the team has also dealt with some "really sad" incidents over the years.

Adapting to the change of using PPE during the pandemic has been a major change to protect individuals they are looking for and themselves from coronavirus.

The Bolton unit work closely with neighbouring teams Rossendale and Pendle, and Bowland Pennine.

Members act as standby to provide first aid cover for events such as fell races too.

Alistair has also praised the support the organisation receives to stay afloat.

He said: "Our public are really generous in donating as it costs £30,000 a year to keep the team running.

"The ambulance service provide us with equipment and the police are very good to us as well."

The team also gets help from national body, Mountain Rescue England and Wales.

The Bolton News: The Bolton News:

Alistair, from Wigan, signed up after going for walks with a friend in North Wales, a search dog handler, and then looked into volunteering, which led him to the path of the rescue team.

He added: "As long as I can keep going I will be part of the team.

"There is a saying that when you have seven years experience in the team you are a 'lifer' and we have quite a lot here like that."

For more information about the organisation visit boltonmrt.org.uk.