A GROUP of lifesavers who carry out search and rescue operations in Gwent and further afield have been celebrated at a police awards ceremony.

The Severn Area Rescue Association, or SARA, has been saving lives for more than 40 years. The organisation is routinely called upon for support in searching for missing people and searches that require a complex skill set – such as searching water, marshland or difficult, steep and remote terrain.

The organisation covers the Severn Estuary and part of the River Severn, and last month was awarded with the Caroline Symes Memorial Bowl at an awards ceremony organised by Gloucestershire Police and the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl.


The Caroline Symes Memorial Bowl recognises those who carry out outstanding work in the voluntary sector and is presented on behalf of the Symes family in memory of their daughter Caroline, who was a serving officer with Gloucestershire Police.

SARA continues to be a charitable organisation, with volunteers raising their own funds in order to continue to serve the community. As well as providing land search and cliff rescue teams, they operate inland rescue and flood boats across the areas as well as inshore lifeboats in the Severn estuary.

Sgt Jim Griffiths, a trained police search adviser who works alongside SARA, said: "SARA are without a doubt for me the best search resource that I have got in terms of missing person searches.

"They are not only doing searches for missing people but they rescue people. Quite simply without SARA we could not be anywhere near as effective at searching as we are now."

SARA executive land search manager John Dutton commented “This award acknowledged the commitment, both training and responding to callouts, by all SARA volunteers in supporting the Police. We are especially grateful to the families of SARA volunteers, whose support is essential in allowing the volunteers to be so responsive."

For more information visit sara-rescue.org.uk