Mountain Rescue Magazine Winter 2021


NEIL ADAM OGWEN VALLEY MRO One of the founder members of SARDA Wales, Neil died peacefully at home at Mynydd Llandegai, on 13 November 2020. Neil and his wife Maggie were also members of the fledgling Ogwen Valley MRO, achieving their joint one hundred year mark a couple of years ago, a landmark we celebrated in the Spring 2018 issue of the magazine. Both served as search dog handlers and played an important part in promoting the work of search dogs across the UK. Chris Lloyd looks back over his life.

exams. And, being lighter than his two OVMRO contemporaries, he was usually selected to be lowered to the casualty with the stretcher. He was appointed a team leader in 1969, a post he held until 1997. When he stepped down, he was awarded honorary membership of the team. It was through OVMRO that Neil met Maggie. They became engaged at Christmas 1969 and married in July 1970. They honeymooned on the romantic Isle of Skye (camping amongst fellow Ogwen MR members, by coincidence rather than by choice!) Both being teachers, they enjoyed long summer holidays so were able to visit the Alps and Himalaya, where Neil was able to complete a first ascent of Ladakh. Although they both taught in Merseyside schools, they had a weekend house in Bethesda. They trained and worked a SARDA dog, then became involved in search management. Meanwhile Neil was assisting the running of OVMRO by becoming treasurer. He joined St John Ambulance in 1989 and this led him to becoming a trainer for St John’s. He went to instruct in Zambia and Berlin and was invested into the Order of St John at Bangor Cathedral in 2014. His service to the community was rewarded with an invitation to Buckingham Palace. After retiring from teaching, Maggie and Neil bought a smallholding in Mynydd Llandygai. Here, they have bred rare breed sheep and Tamworth pigs. Once again,

Neil was a man with coats of many colours, not just the red of mountain rescue. Born in Ruthin, Denbighshire in 1942, he was the youngest of five siblings and eight years younger than the fourth. When he was about ten years old, he was introduced to Snowdonia by his elder brothers and was soon scrambling on the crags and cliffs of the Ogwen and Llanberis valleys. His brothers had also introduced him to the Boy Scouts. It was at Easter 1963, when Neil was sitting on the A5 roadside wall near Ogwen Falls, enjoying a cup of tea from Merfyn’s Brew Shack, when Ron James of Ogwen Cottage Mountain Rescue Team came looking for climbers to assist with a rescue on Tryfan. A person had broken their thigh. And that was the start of a lifetime membership of mountain rescue Neil was part of a group of regular weekend climbers, who would stay in a barn at Bodesi Farm, just East of Bryn Poeth. Ron James was often needing extra hands to assist with rescues and he would frequently call upon those staying at the Bodesi Barn. When the Ogwen Cottage team changed to the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (OVMRO), Neil was very much part of the transformation. In 1966, he left the Denbighshire County Council to study at Bangor Normal College and attended the Dr Ieuan Jones evening lectures on Mountaineering First Aid. His new passion for casualty care never left him. He passed his Basic and Advanced

Top left: Neil in his St John Ambulance uniform. Above: Neil and Maggie at Buckingham Palace © Neil & Maggie Adam.

Neil went that bit further and found himself touring the UK as a judge for Rare Breed competitions. In his latter years with OVMRO, he would assist with rescues as a driver, delivering troops to the hills and collecting them after long rescues. He was also despatched as a ‘spotter ’ helping to identify where the lone flashing torch was sited on the rock face. He was always there, willing to assist. He died on 13 November after being taken ill earlier this year. He is survived by his wife, Maggie. In summary: Neil Adam: OVMRO for fifty- five years, team leader for twenty-eight, served as treasurer, secretary, equipment officer and newsletter editor. Neil Adam: Honorary member. Neil Adam: OVMRO through and through. ✪

SIMON JAMES SARDA SOUTHERN SCOTLAND Members of SARDA Southern Scotland and SARDA South Wales paid tribute to Simon, in December. SARDA Southern Scotland’s social media post was shared and noted by friends and mountain rescue colleagues across the UK, remembering the kindness, fun and dog-handling skills of ‘a true gentleman’. ‘Today we said a very sad goodbye to Simon, our colleague and friend, as he makes his final journey through the Angus Glens. Simon was a huge part of our association, from being an external assessor during his long career in South Wales to this last year as a call- out member with his dog Skirrid. Simon has saved and enhanced many lives in his decades in mountain rescue across South Wales and Scotland both with his mountain

rescue search dogs and also with his mountain rescue team mates. We would like to say thank you for all the messages of love and support from the mountain rescue and search dog family across the UK. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Simon’s funeral will be a much smaller occasion than he deserves but the thoughts of all of us will be with him and his family. Rest in peace Simon.’ A justgiving page set up in Simon’s memory, to support his love of nature and the wilderness, at had raised £1,450 of its £100 target at the time of writing.



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