Rescue team chief insists the journey back to safety is 'still a dangerous one'

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 19 May 2020

Oldham‘s heroes of the hills have urged caution when visiting the countryside.

Justin Parkinson, Oldham Mountain Rescue Team’s chair, said: "Our collective action has saved the NHS from buckling under the pressure.

“But we’re not out of the woods yet.

"To coin a phrase mountaineers would recognise, we may have reached and passed the peak, but we’re only halfway there and the journey back to absolute safety is still a dangerous one."

He said people will welcome the ability to exercise as often as they wish and to use open spaces with fewer restrictions, but they urge the public to do so with care and sound judgement.  

Mr Parkinson added: "Please stay well within your capabilities and remember that you may not be as fit as you were before lockdown.  

"Keep to your family groups (and small ones at that) and keep your distance from others.  

"Don’t endanger yourself or others and please be courteous to those you encounter.

“This virus still has the potential to inflict huge damage, serious illness and of course death, and there’s no easy way of knowing who might be carrying it.  

“As a result, anyone in need of our services (or those of the other emergency services) must be viewed as though they pose a real risk to our members and treated accordingly.  

"All of our members are volunteers, most with families and many with full time jobs or self-employed, and can ill-afford to be sick or take unnecessary risks.”

The Team’s Leader, Rob Tortoiseshell, reinforced his colleagues' ability to respond, saying: "Although we will still respond to requests for assistance without prejudice, our response times may be longer due to the protocols in place to help keep us safe.

"Exercise and using our great outdoors can have very real benefits for mind, body and soul, but with Oldham health authority having the 10th highest number of coronavirus cases per 100k people in the country, we urge everyone local and further afield to consider any potential risks to themselves or others and use caution, so we don’t rapidly head back into a more stringent lockdown."

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.