Coastguard volunteer reaches new heights

Iain Tindall and Chris Stone from Belay Rope Access simulate a casualty rescue S30544H14
Iain Tindall and Chris Stone from Belay Rope Access simulate a casualty rescue S30544H14

A COASTGUARD volunteer is using his cliff rescue experience to train young people in a fast-growing industry.

Iain Tindall, a search and rescue officer with the Shoreham team, wants to help find work for people from the south and said there was no-one else offering the training in the region.

He set up Belay Rope Access a year ago, originally based at the former Parcelforce site in Brighton Road, before the building was demolished in April.

As director and lead trainer, he works alongside assistant trainer Chris Stone, who has more than 16 years’ experience cleaning and maintaining the tallest buildings in London.

An industrial unit at Shoreham Airport has been turned into a bespoke rope access training facility for the company, which held an official launch last Thursday.

Mr Tindall said: “We have already trained young people from the region, including the Isle of Wight, who are now working in the offshore wind energy and oil sectors.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of rope access as the safest and most cost-efficient method of working at height.

We also would like to promote the industry as a fantastic career option for young people, especially those leaving the military who are looking for a job less ordinary.”

He said the new facility at Shoreham Airport offered scope for complex rescue and casualty hauling scenarios.

Mr Tindall is also a long-standing volunteer with Adventure Unlimited, a Brighton charity instructing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and special needs in outdoor pursuits, including abseiling.

He offered Sam Chase, a former trainee from the charity, a free place on a rope access course in Shoreham last week.

Mr Tindall said: “Hopefully this training will lead Sam to working within the music industry as a stage rigger, which will make a life-changing difference to him.”

He decided to become a full-time trainer in February having gained 16 years’ experience in the rope access industry, including working offshore on oil rigs in the North Sea and West Africa for ten years.

Mr Tindall is also using the knowledge he has gained as a volunteer coastguard rescue officer to offer first aid training for businesses that work at height.

The use of caving and climbing techniques to access hard-to-reach places on oil platforms in the North Sea started almost 30 years ago. Industrial rope access has since grown into a worldwide industry with certified technicians working on every continent.

Mr Tindall said: “The applications for rope access are almost limitless. Graduates from Belay are already in work on the Spinnaker Tower, major London buildings, offshore wind turbines, oil rigs in the Middle East and skyscrapers in Australia.”