We had received a call from POLSAR (Police Search and Rescue) in Norwich, asking for our assistance in searching for a missing 81 year old lady. She had gone missing from Brooklands Nursing Home on Costessey Lane, Drayton and had not been seen since 2030hrs on the Saturday evening.

David Lambard and myself were available from Eastern Region, Ray Gray from Northern Region and Kris Hurley, Ian Turner, Jim McElwee and Martin Maskell from Southern Region. All were en-route within 20 minutes of the initial call.

David and I were on the scene by 0130hrs and met up with a Sergeant Claxton at the nursing home and also another voluntary group called Civil Protection, from Norfolk.

Six of us were briefed on the lady and immediately carried out a very thorough search of the grounds of the nursing home and the immediate fields adjoining the home using the Thermal Image Camera. This was followed by a search in either direction down Costessey lane for about 1 mile plus adjoining lanes off this road. On completion we then were briefed to drive to the local police station where information would be collated from those searches and the next stage drawn up.

Ray then arrived, along with further Civil Protection volunteers and following a briefing from Sergeant Moulton, 2 teams of 7 were put together and two new areas were given to search. As we were being deployed Kris Hurley and Ian Turner arrived and were also put to work, followed shortly after by Martin Maskell and Jim McElwee.

Due to the fact that many of the houses on the lane had security systems and lighting it was decided that buildings would be searched once people living in them had started to wake and, in the meantime, meadowland and a disused railway footpath and surrounding fields were searched.

It was at approximately 0830hrs that Team C, including Kris Hurley and Ian, started asking the public to search outbuildings and very shortly Pat was found in the outbuilding of a house just 50m from the nursing home. Fortunately there was a heater in the utility room so this had assisted in her not getting too cold whilst lying on the floor. She was checked over by medics and then returned to the nursing home.

Following a debriefing, where the police expressed how pleased they were by the operation, we all left the police station at 0930hrs.

My thanks to everyone for their efforts, our attendance was very much appreciated by POLSAR and they expressed the hope that in the future we might attend their training sessions and vice versa. Well done.

Helen Farley
Eastern Region

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