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Midshires were called to help search for a teenager missing since Christmas Eve in Bishop's Stortford. Searches by police, friends and family on Christmas Day did not locate the boy so Midshires, as well as specialist police dive teams, were called in to search the area by the River Stort.
Although still not formally identified at time of writing, a body was recovered from the river by the specialist dive teams, and is believed to be that of the missing teenager.
Midshires were called to assist the residents of Caddington when a burst water main caused all gas supplies to the village to fail. This affected some 1200 houses and was especially problematic because it was during a period of very low temperatures.
Help was provided to staff a Rest Centre and to help distribute electric cookers and heaters to affected residents. The additional use of electrical power resulted in the failure of the electricity supply to a number of streets and made the rest centre even more vital for residents. We also assisted in the delivery of leaflets to houses in the village.
Gas an Electricity company staff worked around the clock to try to restore power to the village before Christmas day, but some 100 homes were still affected by Christmas Eve.
Midshires were called a number of times in a two day period to assist with incidents caused by a period of heavy snowfall.
These included a fire and possible evacuation of residents in Pulloxhill, providing assistance to motorists stranded in freezing temperatures on the A1 near Biggleswade as a result of a jack-knifed lorry, and providing warmth and refreshments to residents of Haynes who lost power during the cold spell.
We have also been providing assistance at a shelter in Luton for homeless people, set up to provide additional food and beds during the cold weather.
A man went missing while walking with friends near the River Stort in Bishop's Stortford. Midshires were put on standby to search the area by the river, but fortunately the man was found alive and well on board a moored boat.
The discovery of a potentially explosive device in a Bedford street resulted in residents in the surrounding area being evacuated from their homes. Midshires were called to help set up and run an evacuation centre for those residents with nowhere else to go.
A Rest Centre was set up in the Bedford Athletics Stadium, but fortunately only some twenty-three residents needed to use the facility. A bomb disposal team from the RAF made the device safe and residents were allowed back to their homes shortly before midnight.
Concerns were raised for an elderly Polish woman who had been missing from her home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. She had already been missing for more than two days when Midshires were called to assist.
Inteligence received by police while team were still being briefed indicated that she had been seen on a bus leaving the area some days before. Additional reports received from her relatives in Poland that she had been seen there in the last day were still being checked by the police, but the team were stood down as it was fairly certain she was not still in the area.
A 29 year old female went missing from her home in Arlesey. Concerns were raised when temperatures started to fall as evening approached, as she was known to be wearing only light-weight clothing.
The search was called off when she was found safe and well in Bedford, supposedly having walked the whole distance!
An elderly male was reported missing from his home in Milton Keynes. Midshires were called by Bucks Search and Rescue to assist in a search, but the man reported in to the Central Milton Keynes police station without assistance.
Called to help locate a man missing from his home in Bishop's Stortford, the team were asked to search an old World War 2 airfield, now an area of woodland used for Paintballing, that he was known to frequent. Despite a thorough search, no trace was found of the missing man.
The search was called off when police received information that the man may have travelled outside of the area to visit friends. He eventually turned up back at his home some days later.
The team had an early morning start when called to assist Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue (CAMSAR) to locate a man missing from his home near St. Neots since early the previous day. Not thought able to travel far on foot, nor able to get transport, the search was concentrated in areas of dense woodland and fields surrounding the man's home. Despite searching all day, no trace was found.
Requested to assist in searching the verges of the A428 (to be closed by police to enable the search to be carried out safely) early the following morning, the teams were eventually stood down late in the evening when the man was located. Despite his apparent inability to travel, he was found many miles away in Northampton.
Midshires were called by Essex SAR while on a weekend training exercise, to help search for a man missing from his home in Loughton, Essex since early the previous day. The teams searched areas of a nature reserve, bordering on the River Roding, near to his home, but no trace was found. The search was called off as darkness began to fall.
The man turned up at his home the following day, safe and well.
The team were called out to assist in the search for a woman missing from her home in Watford for more than a week. In order to cover more ground, help was also requested from neighbouring search teams and from search dogs.
Although areas of woodland and river banks were searched, no trace was found. Originally scheduled to continue on the following day, the teams were stood down until such time as further information was received.
Called by Herts police to help locate a young woman missing from her home in Rickmansworth since the previous day. The team were targeted to search woodland near the woman's home.
Fortunately she was found by the police, safe and well, in the centre of the town.
On Good Friday, 10 April and Easter Monday, 13 April, two parties from Midshires visited the Herts Air Ambulance at its base at North Weald in order to meet the crews and to see how we may most usefully work with them if they are ever needed to be called to deal with an injured misper found during a search.
Our members visiting on the Friday were unfortunate in that the aircraft was called out on two separate occasions during their visit, so they had little opportunity to talk to the crew; the Monday team were more fortunate in that there were no callouts. The crew were happy to spend time showing us the aircraft and how it has been fitted out for use in medical emergencies, and to discuss how they operate and what they would need from Midshires.
Much useful and fascinating information was obtained and we would like to thank the pilot and medical teams for spending so much time with us and for making us feel so welcome.
A serious fire in an old warehouse in the Midland Road area of Luton started in the mid-evening of 5 April and resulted in some of the occupants of nearby flats being evacuated. Midshires helped set up a Rest Centre to accomodate the evacuees and also assisted police in notifying residents of the flats of the need to evacuate or not.
The fire was brought under control by the Fire Service and residents were able to be returned to their homes in the early hours of the following morning.
Called by Herts police to assist in the search for a person who had gone missing and was threatening to harm himself.
The team were stood down while en route after a body was found by the police.
One of the effects of the wintry weather hitting our region in early February, is to make life much harder for those living rough on the streets of our towns. The heavy snow and freezing temperatures have meant an increased need for temporary shelter for the homeless on the streets of Luton, and a temporary shelter has been set up to help more people to get off the streets during the cold nights.
Midshires are providing a number of members to help staff the shelter during the nights of Thursday 5 February through to Friday 13 February.
A recent power failure at the Yarlswood Detention Centre, just north of Bedford, resulted in a call to Midshires when the standby generators did just that - stood by and refused to start!
We were asked to take our Control Van to the centre as we are able to provide hot water and drinks, but were stood down while en route as engineers had managed to start-up the standby generators.
As reported in our Support Events page, the magnificent display of Christmas lights put on by Ken and the residents of Highfield Road in Flitton was once again a huge success. It brought delight to its many visitors, both young and old, and truly helped to get everyone into the real spirit of Christmas.
In addition, we are very happy to report that more than £1800 was presented to Midshires as a result of the donations made by visitors to the lights. We are very grateful to Ken for supporting our organisation for the second year running; the money will be used to allow us to purchase equipment and to fund additional training for our members, all of which will allow us to provide an even better service to the police and the local communities which we serve.
Our heartfelt thanks to Ken and to all the residents of Highfield Road.
A call from Hertfordshire police resulted in Midshires assembling a team in High Cross, near Hertford, when an elderly man who had been out in the open during the previous night had not been located.
We are happy to report that the man was spotted by a local farmer just as the team were being briefed. Fortunately, although suffering from mild hypothermia, he was able to be assisted into a police vehicle and kept warm until paramedics and an ambulance arrived to take him to a local hospital.
Midshires responded to a call from our neighbouring search team (Bucks Search & Rescue) who were asking for help in locating a missing woman just outside Oxford.
Team members had been deployed for only a short time when a woman's body was found in a ditch, not far from the place where she was last seen.
The team were called out by Bedfordshire police in the late evening of Saturday 29 November after fears that a man who had gone out walking may be considering harming himself.
A search of the areas where the man was believed to be led to no find and the team were eventually asked to Stand Down at approx 4am on the Sunday morning. The police were considering whether to continue the search during daylight, but the man returned home, safe and well, not long after the search had been called off for the night.
Midshires were put on Standby by BLEVEC as a result of a serious fire in Dudley Street, Luton. A number of residents of the area were to be moved from their homes into overnight accomodation and it looked as though a Rest Centre would need to be set up to accomodate them.
In the end, a decision was taken to move them into hotel accomodation for the night, so the team were told to Stand Down before being called out.
The team were called out by Hertfordshire police on Monday 29 September after a womans car was found abandoned in a field on the outskirts of Bramfield, near Hertford.
Police were fearful for the woman's safety and a large-scale search was launched involving many police as well as Midshires. Due to the thickly-wooded nature of the area, the search was to last for a full seven days and necessitated Midshires calling in additional resorces from other Lowland Search organisations.
The woman was eventually discovered some distance outside of the search area, which was centred around where her vehicle had been found, by a member of the public. Although suffering from the effects of cold and an injured ankle, she was generally in very good health considering the amount of time she had been out in the open.
Not only was the duration of the search (seven days) the longest carried out by Midshires, but it also involved the help of more search teams on a single search than ever before. In addition, much useful experience was gained of working closely with the police teams and in a number of activities carried out jointly with the police. One of the more unusual was searching a pond found in the search area, as can be seen in the photos shown below.
Midshires would like to thank all of the Search Teams who gave up their time to assist us on the search. These include Bucks Search & Rescue, Cambridgeshire Search & Rescue, Essex Search & Rescue, Norfolk Lowland Search & Rescue, Suffolk Lowland Search & Rescue, and Search Dogs Essex.
Hertfordshire police called Midshires in the early hours of the morning to help locate a teenage boy who had failed to return as expected after celebrating GCSE results with friends the previous evening.
Police and Fire Service teams had been searching the roads and rivers surrounding the area where the boy was staying since just after midnight, but had failed to find any trace. Midshires joined with police teams to check out other possible routes that the boy may have taken.
The search was called off when the boy was found alive and well, although nursing a hangover, by police checking areas nearer to where he lived. It appeared he had made his way towards his home but had then decided to sleep off the effects of the drinking. He had seen police and fire teams, but had not realised they might be looking for him!
An elderly man from Luton disappeared during a visit to a garden centre in Milton Keynes. Although quite fit and active, there were fears for the man's safety as he suffered from Dementia and was unlikely to be aware of where he was or how to look after himself.
Police teams, including mounted police and bike teams, had searched the immediate area during the afternoon, but had found no trace of the man. Midshires were called around tea-time as there were increased fears for his safety as night approached.
Teams had just deployed to their search areas when the man was found, alive an well, heading up the old A5 road, near to Stony Stratford - some 9km from where he had gone missing!
The team were placed on standby by the county Emergency Planning Officer after an incident in Luton led police to believe that explosives may be found in a parked car. This might have required residents in the local area to be evacuated and Midshires would be involved in the evacuation and setting up of a Rest Centre for the evacuees.
As it turned out the team were not required after a search of the car found firearms and ammunition, but no explosives.
Midshires, along with Bucks Search & Rescue and Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs, were called out to search for a woman missing from a large house in Biddlesden, Bucks. Initial police attempts to find her had been unsuccessful, but her shoes were found on the edge of a lake in the grounds of the house.
The teams were used to search the extensive grounds of the house and adjacent farmland, but after searching all day, the search was called of as darkness fell.
On the following day, the body of a woman was recovered from the lake by police dive teams.
Bedfordshire police called on Midshires to help in the search for a missing Letchworth man after his car was discovered in a layby on the A507 near Beadlow Manor Golf Club, near Shefford. The man, who had been missing from his home since the previous day, had once been captain at the club.
After and extensive search of the golf course and surrounding area, no trace of the man was found. The team were stood down at the end of the day.
The team was called in the middle of the night by Hertfordshire police to search for a man, known to be in a depressed state, who had been treatening to kill himself. By coincidence, the location was less than 3km from the site of the previous search, just five days earlier.
A body, believed to be that of the missing man, was found in woodland after a few hours searching. As the location was near to schools, the team subsequently assisted in cordoning off the area to ensure that no children or parents could approach the area.
Midshires would also like to thanks Bucks Search & Rescue, who provided some of their members to assist in the search.
Fears that a man missing for a number of days may be intending to harm himself led to police calling Midshires to search woodland and farmland near Brickett Wood, Herts. A body of a man was found by the team in woodland after less than three hours searching. It is believed to be that of the missing person.
Hertfordshire police called on Midshires to assist them in the search for an elderly man who had gone missing in Harpenden. The man, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, had disappeared during the afternoon and Midshires were asked to search through the night as he was particularly vulnerable, despite the very warm weather.
As no trace was found, the search was resumed the following day after the team had managed to get a few hours sleep. Midshires searched a large area of park and farmland that was used by the missing man, but he was found in the early evening by a police team searching waste land off of the main London Road. Despite being on the ground and unable to move for some considerable time, the man was alive and has made a full recovery after a few days in hospital.
As a member of BLEVEC, Midshires have given a training session on facilities issues surrounding the setting up of a Rest Centre in the event of a civil emergency. The evening was one of a series of training events given by BLEVEC members to others members of the organisation.
In order to reduce travel for more of our members, Midshires have moved to a new venue for their evening training meetings.
After meeting in the Memorial Hall in Woburn Sands for a number of years, the decision was taken to move to the Culcheth Centre, at Redborne Upper School and Community College, Ampthill, Beds. We would like to thank Woburn Sands Town Council for their generosity over the years, and also Redborne School for allowing us to use the Culcheth Centre which, during school hours, is the Sixth Form Common Room.
Training meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month, starting at 8pm. If anyone is interested in finding out more about Midshires, please feel free to come along to any of the training meetings.
Midshires were called out by Hertfordshire police to assist in the search of farmland at Northaw, Herts. The search was around the home of a man, John Finney, who police feared may have been abducted. Midshires called on Search Dog Teams from around the area to assist in the search.
Although no trace of the missing man was found, a headless and handless body found two weeks later in Ickleford, Hertfordshire, more than 30km away from the search area, was subsequently identified as the missing man.
One of three men arrested by police on suspicion of the murder of John Finney appeared in court on 19 May, and has been remanded in custody. The two other men are under arrest in Spain.
Midshires spent two days carrying out a search in the area around the Woburn Golf and Country Club, looking for a man missing from Woburn, Bedfordshire. It was feared that the man, whose car had been found abandoned at the side of a road in woodland near to the golf courses, may have come to harm as he was believed to be in a depressed state of mind.
Extensive searches of the golf courses and surrounding woods failed to find any trace of the man, and the search was finally called off as darkness fell on the second day. Fortunately, we heard the following day that the man had been found alive and well after living rough for the last few days.
A cheque for the money raised from donations made by visitors to the spectacular display of Christmas lights put on by the residents of Highfield Road in Flitton, was presented to Midshires, with the assistance of Alex Duffy from Chiltern Radio.
An incredible £1700 was raised during the five weeks that the display was open. Midshires would like to say a very public and heartfelt Thank You to Ken and to all of the other residents of Highfield Road in Flitton, and to the more than 2000 visitors, who helped make the event such a success.
The team were called in by Bedfordshire police to assist in the search for missing Wilstead teenager Robert Gill. Information suggested that Robert had set off across the fields from his brother's home in Shortstown, heading for his own home in Wilstead - he never arrived.
Two days were spent searching for Robert in the countryside between the two villages, but no trace was found and the search was called off.
Further information appeared to imply a different sequence of events and led the police to search the River Ouse in Bedford where a body was eventually found. We understand that a number of teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of causing Robert's death.
A fire in a scrap yard in Windmill Road, Flitwick, led to a number of acetylene and propane cylinders exploding and others being heated in the blaze. Some of our local members assisted in the evacuation of nearby residents to a hotel for the night, as firefighters feared that other explosions may follow.
The cylinders were still being cooled by firefighters the following day, so Midshires were called out to assist the county authorities in setting up a Rest Centre for the residents in the nearby Flitwick Leisure Centre. About twenty residents remained at the centre until the Fire Service allowed them to return to their homes at around 3.30pm.
Midshires were called to Ware, Hertfordshire, to help search for a man who had gone missing the previous evening. Police believed that he may have come to harm after a note was found.
The team were deployed along the banks of the River Lea Navigation, but the search was called off after it was found that the man, who was in his forties, had spent the night in a local Bed & Breakfast and had been seen alive and well during the morning.
Ghosts, coffins and all things spooky greeted the kids and grown-ups who came along to the Midshires Halloween Party at the Flitton and Greenfield Village Hall in Bedfordshire.
The fancy dress worn by many of the party-goers helped keep up the spirit of the night and competitions and a chance to explore the slimy and sticky delights in the Crypt, tastefully decorated in Gravestone Grey and Midnight Black, helped keep the kids screaming!
Dancing for young and old was to live music provided by Mr Bullfrog and food and drinks helped to revive those overcome by the terrors of the night. A shocking time was had by all!
A call from the Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC), of which Midshires is a member, summoned the team to a tower block in the Hockwell Ring area of Luton. A water leak had caused a fire in the buildings electrical equipment and resulted in loss of power and water to the 14-floor block of flats.
The team provided varied assistance over three successive evenings, including: fetching and delivery of water and food; delivery of leaflets to residents; provision of lighting and assistance to residents in entering and leaving the premises; additional security presence.
The team also assisted in the setting up of an emergency evacuation centre in a nearby Community Centre and provided additional communications support between the centre and the tower block.
Power was finally restored, albeit on a temporary basis until parts are obtained, at the end of the third evening.
Midshires called out to help in the search for a missing female in the Standon area of Hertfordshire.
The woman had gone missing from her home the previous day, and the search was of areas around her home, with which she was very familiar.
Although not found directly by the team, unfortunately a body was found in thick woodland by a local man who had been alerted about the missing woman by one of the teams.
A call from Hertfordshire police to search for an Alzheimers sufferer, missing from his home in Potters Bar, took Midshires to one of the most southern parts of its area of coverage.
The man in his sixties had gone missing from home early on the evening of 26 August. Teams were deployed to search fields used by the misper, but he was found by police walking in an area which had been identified as the next area for us to search. Fortunately the man was in comparative good health, not too badly affected by his night in the open.
Midshires were put on standby by the Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC) in case the rising water levels in the River Great Ouse required people to be evacuated from their homes. Midshires are capable of assisting with the evacuation of people and are also available to help with the setting up of Emergency Rest Centres for members of the public evacuated from their home.
Fortunately, the rise in water levels were not as bad as originally feared and no evacuations were required. Midshires were stood-down during the morning of 23 July.
Call received from BSAR to assist them in dealing with flooding in Buckingham. Midshires operated throughout the night of 20/21 July, providing help with leafletting of properties likely to be affected by flooding, filling and distributing sandbags, and evacuating residents trapped by rising flood waters.
Callout received to assist Bedfordshire police in the search for an elderly man missing from his home in Bedford. Teams were deployed to an area of Clapham following reports of a sighting of the man near a housing estate.
An area of fields and woodland was searched during the evening, but the search was called off following reports of a body being found in a lake many miles away from the search area. Later confirmed to be that of the missing man.
Along with BSAR, called to search for a male despondent, missing from his home in Tring. Missing since earlier in the day, the man had contacted the police by mobile phone and was threatening to kill himself. Teams were deployed, in pouring rain, to search an area of lakes and canal tow path. Nothing was found during the evening and the search was called off once darkness fell, as the area was too difficult, and possibly dangerous to search in the dark.
Teams re-assembled the following morning, but were stood-down as the man returned to his home just as the teams were about to be deployed. Police were convinced that the presence of so many searchers in the area was instrumental in convincing the man to return to his home.