The Prior of St John Scotland, Major General Mark Strudwick, visited Melrose on 5 May to formally open the new Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue base.
The Prior was joined by St John Scotland’s Executive Director Angus Loudon and members of our Edinburgh and South East committee at the opening, which saw members of the public from across the area turn out to lend their support.
Funding from St John Scotland allowed the purchase of the base in Melrose, which was previously a fire station, as well as covering a significant proportion of costs for its refurbishment.
Pete Matthews, Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team Leader, said: "We are delighted that our new base is now fully operational. This is the culmination of nearly a decade of searching for a suitable site and over four years of intensive effort to secure the former fire station in Melrose.
“After a complete extension and refurbishment project, we now have a state-of-the-art rescue facility. The new base offers us facilities we could only have dreamt of previously and will greatly increase our ability to train our volunteers, store and maintain kit and ultimately - and most importantly - to allow us to better come to the aid of those in need in our community.
“The project would not have been possible without the support and financial commitment of St John Scotland. In recognition of their support we have chosen to name the building ‘St John Base’ as a permanent reminder of the partnership between our two organisations.”
The opening of the base follows the recent handing over of ownership of Mountain Rescue bases to teams in Skye and Dundonnell, as well as other teams across the country. It means ownership of all currently operating bases supported by St John Scotland has now been handed over to the teams themselves, with Torridon Mountain Rescue Team's base, currently under construction, due to open in autumn 2018.