Mountain Rescue Hero
2179. Penny Kirby
Penny Kirby, from Cumbria, has spent over 40 years rescuing hundreds of people who have encountered trouble on England's highest mountain and across the Lake District.
Penny is one of four leaders of ‘Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team’, which was established in 1968 to aid those needing help in Wasdale and Eskdale. Penny became involved with the rescue team in the 1980s, and started training and working with search dogs soon after joining the team. One of Penny’s first jobs, with her debut dog Ben, was to locate victims in the aftermath of the plane bombing over Lockerbie. Since then, she has responded to hundreds of call outs a year, while training many volunteers, with recent years seeing an increase in incidents. Penny’s current dog, Jess, is her fifth canine helper, trained to detect the odours released into the air by human skin, hair and bacteria.
As well as Penny’s extensive knowledge of the local area and pathways, she is well known for her kindness and expertise by those that she rescues, as well as the wider community.
This award for Penny coincides with Mountain Rescue Awareness Day.
“I am humbled and honoured to have been given this award. I am just one of a large number of mountain rescuers who help thousands of people across the country every year and I would not be receiving the award were it not for the efforts of all of us. I hope that in doing so, it will help to recognise them too, and that it validates and encourages us all in what we do. A heartfelt thank you.”
Photo Credit: Jen Hellier