SAR veteran steps down

Blenheim man John Scobie is stepping down from his role of chairman of Marlborough search and rescue after seven years.

He has been replaced by Daryl Sladen who was chairman of Rakaia search and rescue (SAR), where he honed his skills helping out in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, before moving to Whatamango Bay in the Marlborough Sounds in July.

Marlborough SAR is part of a national network of volunteer groups which support police with back country and urban searches. The team of 30 men and women are also the Blenheim Alzheimers search group.

Mr Scobie, 61, has been involved with Marlborough SAR since the early 1970s, after joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1968, and values the experience.

"It's fair to say I've met many top people during my time, and had a lot of great opportunities," he said.

After 30 years of service with SAR, the retired farmer will continue to remain a member of the 30-strong Marlborough unit.

He also plans to step down after six years as deputy chair of the national SAR board next week.

However, he is eager to pass the reins over to a younger member of the team, to keep the enthusiasm of the group alive.

"There are plenty of younger people coming through, who are pretty good guys that know what they're about," he said.

"One of the challenges is to keep people motivated to continue to provide the service."

His successor Mr Sladen has been involved with SAR in Canterbury since 2005.

The 49-year-old maintenance engineer, along with SAR teams from around the country, including Marlborough, was heavily involved with assisting police after the Canterbury earthquakes last year.

Although developments of technology including cellphones, helicopters and personal locator beacons had replaced much of what the SAR teams were called upon to do, he wanted to keep the team's skills up to scratch, he said.

The Marlborough Express