Not Too Old To Volunteer

Karen – Contributer

24th October 2016

Read this inspiring story about Karen who in 2014 at the age of 51 joined the CamSAR (Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue ) team as a volunteer.


Andy was not only my business partner, but a close friend. When he suddenly went missing his family and friends found themselves in a position that is indescribable. I can obviously only speak from my personal perspective, and would not attempt to put myself in his families position for a second.

I can only describe how helpless I felt. The natural reaction is to walk and drive miles scouring the countryside for any hint of movement or a sighting.

Until this dreadful thing happened I had no idea of the existence of CamSAR. As I expect most of the general public believe, the search and rescue teams are part of the police. I was astounded to find that they are all volunteers of al ages and backgrounds, and are funded purely from donations and hard fund raising.

The service they provide attempting to prevent families and friends going through weeks of despair when a loved one goes missing, is remarkable. The emphasis on rapidly locating a person is quite humbling. Regardless of time of day, weather and personal commitments these teams turn out.

As a direct result of recent events I decided to join CamSAR a few months ago. I was so taken by the compassion and effort that the team put into reuniting people with their families, I decided it was something invaluable and constructive to do. Understanding the highs and lows of taking this on had to be considered, as sadly as has happened, this does not always have the right ending. But put into context, being on the searching side is no measure against the anxiety and distress of those waiting for information and not knowing.

To be part of such a valuable service is the least I can do under the circumstances. To help other families and friends who find themselves in a similar position can surely only be a positive.

It would have been good to have found out about CamSAR under different circumstances, but sometimes things in life test our strength and ability to take on challenges that we would never have considered before. This is certainly one challenge where I believe it can make a difference.

It can be up to around 15–20km walked in a. search through various terrain, so it keeps you fit. Also new skills such as basic life support, radio comms. navigation. Not only has it helped other people but also been fulfilling and learnt new skills.

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