Mountain rescue award Representatives from Northumberland National Park and North-of-Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams, who recently received the commendations. (Pic: Northumbria Police)

Rescuers who spent more than 1,500 hours helping people in north-east England during the ‘Beast from the East’ cold spell earlier this year have been commended by Northumbria Police.

Members of Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams covered more than 2,300 miles during the extreme weather in February and March.

Team representatives received a commendation from Northumbria Police’s chief constable.

As the big freeze hit the area, volunteers from the two teams rescued 28 people and helped a further 12 as they responded to almost 50 incidents. Team leaders Iain Nixon and Rachel Smith accepted the awards from Chief Constable Winton Keenen, accompanied by Supt Andy Huddleston.

Chief Constable Keenen said: “It was an honour to meet both teams and award them with commendations in recognition of the vital role they played during the ‘Beast from the East’. We all faced particularly challenging conditions during the bad weather and their invaluable support ensured we were able to respond to those in need.

“Mountain rescue volunteers give up so much of their own time, often at a moment’s notice, taking them away from family and friends, and this dedication should not be underestimated. I’m extremely proud to be able to officially recognise all that they do for us, not only during The Beast from the East, but throughout the year.”

Due to the commitments of all involved it was only recently possible to bring together everyone to present the awards