Edale rescuer John Coombs awarded for 25 years as search dog handler

A mountain rescuer has gained a long-service award after 25 years as a search dog handler.

Edale Mountain Rescue Team member John Coombs was presented with his award by Neville Sharpe, president of the Search and Rescue Dogs Association England.

Mr Coombs has worked with four search dogs: Spider, Bonny, Biscuit and more recently Flash.

Ed Proudfoot of the Edale team said: “He’s attended over 500 searches and made 34 finds.

“John’s services are not just available to the Peak District teams however. He frequently travels to other areas of the country to assist other teams in the search for missing and vulnerable people. John was one of the dog handlers involved in the search for April Jones [the murdered Machynlleth schoolgirl].

“However it’s not just people John and his dogs specialise in, but also lost property which can help gather crucial evidence or just help a fellow team member recover lost keys on the hill.

“Not only has John devoted his time to training working search dogs, but he also has found the time and commitment to be involved as equipment officer within Edale team in two stints encompassing 10 years.

“At a national level John was Sarda England’s training coordinator and now he sits as the Peak District’s search dog coordinator.

“It take a huge amount of commitment to train just one search dog. The fact that John as a volunteer has trained and worked for over a 25 year period is really a fantastic achievement.

“We take this opportunity to thank John for his on-going services to mountain rescue.”

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