THE QUIET man of the mountains is standing down as leader of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team after 25 years.
Over the decades, Mick Nield, 50, has earned the team an enviable accolade for creating “the best morale and family spirit of all UK mountain rescue services”.
After the announcement, the team’s website was flooded with praise for the father of two for his unswerving dedication and unstinting commitment to the community.
In response, Mick said: “A big thank you for all the kind comments – they have all been truly humbling.
“The last 25 years have been a pleasure – not always easy, but a pleasure. But without a good team, it would not have been possible to put up with it for so long.
“Big thanks must go to the team deputies that have supported me – they have been a rock.
“Most of all I have to thank my family, Trish and the girls who have taken a back seat for so long, and much is owed to all the mountain rescue family.”
Dr Andrew Taylor, a Team member, said: “I had been in OMRT for 12 years when Mick Nield joined. He was obviously perfect rescue team material as an open, friendly young man with a joy for life and the outdoors.
“He had all the attributes – in spades – to be a very useful team member, and he showed this on our first major call-out after he had joined. This was a three-day marathon search amongst the debris from the Lockerbie air crash in December 1988.
“The work was busy, prolonged, distressing and geographically wide-ranging. Mick’s energy, good humour, hard work and organising abilities already showed at that time.
“Small wonder, then, that when the team needed to select a new leader only three years after Mick had joined, he was voted in unopposed.
“His leadership skills from the outset showed us senior members a way forward to a more efficient and friendlier organisation than we had ever been – and we were good before!
“Moving into the 21st century provided many challenges with information technology, communications, bureaucracy, paperwork and the distant phantom of possible litigation.
“Mick has grasped each one of these areas of advancement and under his leadership OMRT has always been at the forefront of innovation and adoption.
“And as if all that were not enough, Mick felt the need to be a search dog handler. He got a dog – the delightful Bob – and in the shortest possible time became a fully trained handler with a fully graded dog and several very good “finds” to their name.
“OMRT has the best morale and family spirit of all the teams in UK Mountain Rescue, and every member will agree this is down to Mick’s unique style of leadership and the time he has spent on it – for which the team is ever grateful to his long-suffering family for sharing Mick with his other family.
“Very big shoes to fill, but in true Mick style he has spent many months ensuring that his successor, Matt, has everything in place for a smooth change-over.”
Mick will remain as a director and trustee of the team which will be headed up by new leader Matt Neild.