– November 19, 2012Posted in: News
On Thursday 15th November 2012, experienced and well equipped walker Mr John David Rayton of Preston, aged 70, failed to return home in the evening from a solo walk, believed to have been in the Gisburn to Barnoldswick area of hilly rural countryside in Lancashire.
With mounting concern for his welfare, Lancashire Constabulary instigated a search operation, resulting in firstly Rossendale and Pendle MRT being called out in the very early hours of Friday 16th November, followed by a call out of the Bowland Pennine MRT.
Both Teams joined Police resources in a search of the footpaths along possible routes Mr Rayton may have taken, namely those paths leading between Gisburn and Barondswick. Rossendale’s search dog Finn, handler Steve and navigator Woodie were deployed to search less accessible areas.
By daylight, tired searchers were joined by further Lancashire Constabulary assets, and a RAF SAR Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley.
With further intelligence on the possible whereabouts of Mr Rayton (or at least part of his route) Mountain Rescue Teams were tasked with an evening search of the Ribble Valley Way, partly following the River Ribble and other likely areas. The weather was now heavy rain and very poor visibility, with chilling temperatures making search work more difficult.
Other MRT assets were deployed alongside Police resources elsewhere over a wide area.
Teams were stood down at 2230hrs whilst decisions were made upon the best use of resources on the Saturday.
The Teams resumed searching early on Saturday morning, covering an ever widening search area. Searching continued through the morning in better weather, until at around 1330hrs, reports were received that a member of the public had discovered a body at Ings End, outside Rimmington. The body was later identified as Mr Rayton.
Although this story has a tragic ending, Rossendale and Pendle Team would like to thank all those involved, from all organisations for their effort and commitment in finding Mr Rayton.
Many of those present, including dogs and handlers were only last month involved in the high profile search for April Jones in Machynlleth, Wales.