TODAY we salute the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team which has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

It is the highest award a voluntary organisation can received in the UK and it has rightly gone to this brave group of people who regularly give up their free time to save and preserve life on the stunning moorland around the town and beyond.

But that’s not all they do. Their expert skills are often called upon by the local community to help in severe weather and major incidents.

This was never more graphically illustrated than last year during the fires which raged on the Saddleworth moors for weeks of the summer.

As firefighters and even the Army battled the flames, often started needlessly by mindless idiots who repeatedly ignored warnings about the danger of barbecuing on the moors, they joined the round-the-clock, 24/7 fight to quell the fires.

The men and women of OMRT, including its longest serving member, Peter Hyde, aged 79, have attended a garden party at Bucking Palace along with other recipients of this year’s award.

Peter, who has served in the team for 54 years as leader, treasurer, deputy leader, chairman, trustee and director, has humbly dedicated the award to each member past and present.

This attitude typifies the generous spirit which is clearly part of the culture within OMRT, and long may it continue to thrive and do their great work.

Let us hope that during the coming summer OMRT’s work will be confined to its primary role of preserving or saving life and that the moors can remain fire free as a beautiful amenity for everyone around the town to visit and enjoy.