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Volunteers needed to help find lost people
A CHARITY which supplies volunteers to help police to find lost and missing people is seeking new members of its own.
The Oxfordshire Lowlands Search and Rescue group (Oxsar), which operates from Thame, is called on by the emergency services when someone is reported lost in the county.
The 30 volunteers give up their time to search for vulnerable, elderly, confused or mentally ill people who are considered high risk by the police.
Group chairman Steve Butcher, an electrician by day, works for the group as a search co-ordinator.
He said: “It’s all about helping people and looking out for your community.
“We get a call from Thames Valley Police when a vulnerable person goes missing and the members mobilise to start a search.We’ll be given a rendezvous point and a description of the person and then we’ll set about searching the area.
“I live in Lewknor and I work in Oxford and all over the South.
“It’s nice to give something back – it means something to be part of it.
“It brings a real joy to some people and we also bring back the worst possible answer for some families.
“But at least it’s an answer.
“At the end of the search, one family came out and said ‘thank you for finding her’.”
Between 40 and 50 people take part in an average search.
Oxsar, which relies entirely on donations from the public for its funding, has been called out 20 times in the past six months, often working in co-operation with other teams in neighbouring counties.
Vice-chairman Jennie Webster said: “We only get called for the critical cases.”
She added: “We want to make sure our members get the best training so when someone you love goes missing you know we have the best chance of finding them.
“We’re always on the lookout for volunteers.”
Karen Edwards, who works as a school dinner lady at Barley Hill Primary School in Thame, has a personal reason for volunteering.
She said: “My mother is bi-polar. She once disappeared and got on a train to Birmingham. It’s often people like her we are looking for.”
- Anyone who wants to volunteer should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit isis-sar.org.uk