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    Tuesday, 11 June 2019 07:55

    Volunteers say goodbye to a much loved colleague

    Obituary Pauline Richards 1951-2019

    Today volunteers for local charity Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton said goodbye in a funeral service in Torbay, to a much loved long serving team member who passed away whilst on duty at this year’s Ten Tors.

     team members form a guard of honour at Pauline's funeral


    On Tuesday 13th May 2019 Pauline Richards (67) passed away after a sudden and unexpected illness. She is survived by her son James and daughter Liz, and by the members of her other family, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton).

    Pauline was an active member of the rescue team for almost 30 years and in her time was a hill member, SARDA search dog handler, committee member, and in later years worked steadfastly to support our Search Managers in the Control Vehicle. 

    Pauline suddenly collapsed whilst she was on duty with the team contributing to the safety cover for the two thousand young people taking part in this year’s Ten Tors Challenge. 

    We are indebted to all those who assisted us in getting Pauline from our remote position on the high moor to hospital in Plymouth. We would like to thank the Army, Royal Navy, Devon 4X4 and Dartmoor National Park Rangers, all of whom made it possible for us to achieve this so swiftly.

    Pauline was one of our most sociable members who spoke to everyone from the newest trainee to the longest serving member. She always had a kind word for those who needed one, and freely helped anyone who asked for her assistance. As a woman who had succeeded in gaining respect in a predominately male world, she made a point of supporting the many other women who have followed her since.

    Pauline at work in the team's incident control vehicle

    Pauline was a dedicated and enthusiastic smoker at a time before, and after it was disapproved of. She smoked creatively in the foulest weather and in the most  unlikely situations. For a period of time she had a small waterproof plastic container she could fit 2 cigarettes and a lighter into that she hung around her neck on a bit of string. The sight of her lighting up whilst standing in waist deep water, waiting for something to happen, is an image of her that captures a bit of her character – resourceful, practical, bold, and just a little bit bloody minded.

    She had a devilish sense of humour that could gently torment the unwary - Sometimes the only clue for an increasingly perplexed trainee that she was standing on the small navigation target was her quiet chuckling.  This was only matched by an unerring talent for sniffing out fresh coffee. Her ability to appear at just the right time must have taken years to perfect. 

    PR and puppy

    We take comfort in knowing that when she fell ill, she was with friends and on Dartmoor, a place she loved. Although we didn’t know it at the time, a few us were also lucky enough to have been with her the evening before doing what she liked most, sharing stories and having a laugh over a drink or two. 

    None of us realise quite how much we’ll miss someone until they’re gone. Pauline was always there, an ever-present part of our team. We are going to miss her commitment, humour and friendship more than we can say. 

    Friends remember Pauline with a walk to one of her favourite places on Dartmoor

    Team members and friends reflect, mourn and remember Pauline with a walk to one of her favourite places on Dartmoor following news of her passing in hospital.

    © 2018 DSRT Ashburton. All Rights Reserved. Charity Number: 1106098.