Scottish Borders Search and Rescue Unit gets new plot for permanent base after 58-year wait

The Borders Search and Rescue Unit (BSARU) has finally claimed land for a new base in Kelso- their first permanent home since the unit was formed in 1963.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:02 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:04 pm
BSARU team on their new site at Plot 10, Pinnacle Hill Industrial Estate in Kelso on Friday, April 30 (Photo: BSARU).

BSARU took legal possession of the land at Plot 10, Pinnacle Hill Industrial Estate in Kelso on Friday, April 30.

It is a historic moment for BSARU as for the last 58 years the unit has been splitting it’s accommodation between garages at Kelso Racecourse with vehicle storage at Kelso police station.

A BSARU spokesperson said the new facility will “vastly improve how BSARU operates, and ultimately delivers its services to the communities of south east Scotland.”

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Borders Search and Rescue Unit team training (Photo: BSARU).

The team has been searching for a suitable location to build its new team base for a number of years and has rejected eight other locations during this time.

However, they are still hoping to raise more funds to ensure that building can go ahead for their new base.

Bob McKeand, team leader of BSARU said: “Unfortunately, in terms of finance, as with many other organisations, this last year has been one of the most challenging for us.

“So to finally take legal ownership of land at this point is a huge step forward, which we’re really delighted about.

"We are now looking forward to pressing on with the build this year, and of course the fund raising towards this continues.”

Talking about their current sites, Mr McKeand added: “The lack of facilities, insulation, storage, and the additional logistics of having two locations is far from ideal.

"In addition to that, it means that we currently have no central space for our volunteers to be together – for meetings, indoor training, or even just somewhere to chat and debrief after difficult rescues.”

The new base hopes to accommodate all the team’s vehicles and equipment at one single site, as well as providing dedicated storage, drying area, toilets, kitchen and an indoor training room.

The insulated building will also be better for storing essential rescue and medical equipment like defibrillators.

BSARU’s team of 30 volunteers all live in the operational area of south east Scotland and are available to help people in need 24hrs a day, seven days a week across the Scottish Borders and East Lothian.

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