ST JOHN Scotland officially transferred ownership of the Ochils Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT) base in Fishcross over to the volunteers.

Its support throughout the years has been crucial in allowing members to carry out life-saving operations within the community.

Representatives from both organisation met at the Clackmannanshire spot on Friday, November 17, to mark the hand-over.

Robert Davidson, team leader, said: "Without the support given to the Ochils Mountain Rescue Team from St John Scotland, we would not be in the position that we are in.

"We have two Land Rovers and a purpose built base. The base plays an important part of our training and co-ordination of rescues.

"We also have regular visits from local youth groups to pass on our message of mountain safety."

OMRT are a charitable search and rescue organisation made up of volunteers, all who have specialist training.

They make use of helicopters and search dogs when needed, and running costs are all supported through donations and fundraising.

Kevin Mitchell, OMRT volunteer, and vice-chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, told the Advertiser: "It's all about volunteering to save lives.

"All the guys here are volunteers and we're called out by the police; and we go an assist people who are in need on the mountains or in accessible places.

"Just last Sunday [November 12] we had a lady who was up in the Ochils, slipped and badly broke her lower leg.

"So we were called out, mobilised to the scene, and gave her first-aid and then we transferred her to the air ambulance.

"We also do resilience work – if there's flooding or something like that, we can help out in those situations as well."

St John Scotland has been the biggest contributor to Scottish Mountain Rescue teams for many years.

By 2020, the charity will have given more than £3.2million in funding, mainly through bases and vehicles.

Since it began its support of mountain rescue, it has provided bases for 14 teams in Scotland including Aberdeen, Arran, Arrochar, Dundonnell, Galloway, Lomond, Moffat, Oban, two bases in Skye, Tayside, Tweed Valley, Ullapool and the Wee County.

The OMRT is the seventh base of 13 to be gifted from St John Scotland to the team itself.

The cost of these has now topped £2m and until now, were provided to the groups under licence and rent free.

A spokesperson for St John Scotland said: "We are delighted to be able to gift the Ochils base to the team.

"However, this will not be the end of our relationship and we look forward to maintaining and strengthening our existing links with the team."

For more on the OMRT, please vist or search Ochils Mountain Rescue Team on Facebook.