News: Churchill Fellow lays wreath to Lockerbie victims on 30th anniversary
Published: 14 Jan 2019
Last month, 30 years on from joining the emergency response to the Lockerbie aircraft bombing, Churchill Fellow Andy Colau returned to the site of the air disaster to lay a wreath to its victims.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Andy and his search dogs had been tasked with searching for survivors, human remains and other items related to the bombing. He comments:
"This was one of the most harrowing times of my life and something that gave me impetus to train for disasters of this nature and to perfect training ideas within the Search and Rescue Dog Association.”
The Lockerbie bombing occurred just three weeks after Andy returned from his Fellowship travels to Australia in 1988, where he learnt about emergency medical responses from the New South Wales Ambulance Service. The disaster known as the Lockerbie bombing saw Pan Am Flight 103, an aircraft on a transatlantic flight, destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 people on the ground.
Andy’s Fellowship deepened his commitment to helping people in need. He says:
“Inscribed along the edge of my Churchill medallion are the words 'With Opportunity Comes Responsibility', words that sum up my own commitment to search and rescue. When the call-out comes to search with my specially trained border collies, I have an opportunity to make a difference to someone's life.”
Below: Andy and his search dog Belle look for a missing man on Scafell Pike, Cumbria
Andy began training mountain rescue search dogs 40 years ago and has served as a mountain rescue volunteer ever since. He has been awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medals for services to mountain rescue and, two years ago, he was awarded a grant to travel to the Swiss Alps to learn about using dogs to search after avalanches. This year, Andy and his Fellow volunteers will receive a long service award from Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
In response to the enormous demands on Britain’s emergency services in recent years, from terrorist incidents to floods and fires, the Churchill Fellowship has launched a new category of awards for Emergency response, looking for new ideas in crisis prevention, emergency management and post-crisis recovery. We are open to the widest definition of Emergency Response for these awards, from frontline services such as fire or police, to prevention organisations, charities, infrastructure organisations and public bodies. This is our contribution to assisting Britain’s emergency services. Find out more
Top picture: Andy and his search dog Kez lay a wreath to mark the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Colau.