Diocese of Carlisle

    Cumbrian vicar and congregants feature in Lake District Rescue TV series

    Latest News
    24 April 2024

    A Cumbrian vicar and two of his congregation members have featured in a new TV series focusing on the work of the county’s mountain rescue teams.

    The Rev Paul Kerry and Phil Hall are both volunteer members of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team. Paul is currently the wellbeing lead for the team – supporting the resilience and mental health of volunteers and their families - whilst Phil is a team leader.

    Last year, a camera crew was welcomed into St Bridget’s Moresby to film Paul christen two of the children Phil has with partner, Steph Kelly. The baptism service for Gabriel, 2, and Sebastian, 1, has just featured in the third episode of Lake District Rescue, which aired on More4 on Sunday evening.

    Paul said: “I joined the mountain rescue team just over two years ago and initially was a hill-going member, attending callouts. There was the odd occasion when I’d be out throughout the night and then have to lead services on the Sunday morning so it could be quite tough. On Easter Day last year I got home from the service to be called out to an ankle injury which needed a stretcher carry. Luckily there was no service that evening but that was the only time I was asked if I’d be taking to the hills in my robes!

    “I’ve now stepped back to offer the wellbeing support which is a new direction for us as a team. I absolutely recognise the sacrifices that team members make which are highly commendable.

    “It was wonderful to have so many members of the rescue team with us in church for the christening service. It was an opportunity for church members – many of whom are hill walkers – to have a chat with them too. It all worked well.”

    Phil HallPhil, 46, who works as a mechanical engineer at Sellafield has been a member of Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team for the last 10 years. The team has 50 regular hill-going volunteers. He and his partner regularly attend St Bridget’s, with Steph having been confirmed there only last Sunday alongside the couple’s older son, Joseph.

    Phil said: “When I first joined the mountain rescue team it was about spending time with my friends but since then it has changed for me, and it has become something far more spiritual. There’s an emotional aspect to it; ultimately it’s about caring for other people.

    “It was great having the film crew at the church. It was not just about celebrating the mountain rescue team’s work but also about us celebrating other aspects of our life. Our church is a community in its own right and it was great to be ab le to reflect how welcoming the congregation is.”

    In the latest episode, Phil is filmed as he and other members of the Wasdale team attend an emergency callout to a climber who is stuck on a rock face on Red Gill on Scafell. He is keen that the programme highlights the key message of safety and prevention, in a bid to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, and callouts.

    He added: “We at Wasdale have a message to put across. We’re seeing the number of callouts increasing and certain types of incidents on the hill. So, we see the programme as an opportunity to promote mountain rescue whilst also putting out a message of safety and welfare.”

    In the latest episode, Steph also reflects on the demands of her partner’s mountain rescue team role, telling the film crew: “We’re there when the phone rings. We’re there when the alarm goes off. It’s part of all of our lives but it wouldn’t feel right if it wasn’t there.”

    Television production company Summer Films was given exclusive access to rescue teams across the Lake District. There are 12 teams and over 400 team members.

    And for Paul, his work with the rescue team reflects another part of his ministry.

    He said: “As a Christian I believe in a God who finds people and rescues them. That’s one of the ways that Jesus defined himself and that’s exactly what the volunteers on the hills are doing: they’re finding lost people and rescuing them!”


    Notes for editors

    Click here to watch Lake District Rescue - Series 1: Episode 3 | Channel 4.

    Click here to access safety advice for walking the Cumbrian fells - https://www.adventuresmart.uk/lake-district-cumbria/

    For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Head of Communications, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.