Call to action for 4×4 drivers

A VOLUNTEER charity that enables 4×4 drivers to help communities and emergency services in times of need is on the lookout for new recruits.

Wessex 4×4 Response is a charity whose members head out on the road to help in flooding, snow and other major incidents. They ensure essential workers such as NHS staff can make community rounds or get to shifts in the snow and transports teams helping in police searches.

Volunteers’ vehicles also provide logistical support at major events like Glastonbury Festival, Race for Life and the Somerset carnivals.

Driver and trustee Norman Dagger, who lives in Fishponds, is encouraging other 4X4 owners to join him.

Norman, who puts his 2015 Land Rover Defender to use for the group, joined in 2012.

He has taken part in the response to several floods in Somerset, where Wessex 4×4 Response spent 90 days on the Levels in 2013, has helped transport district nurses on their rounds around Marshfield during heavy snow and transport search and rescue teams combing the Dorset countryside for a missing person.

He manages the Bristol team and also helps train other drivers.

Norman said: “I just thought it was a good thing to do, to put something in to the community.”

Any type of 4×4 vehicle can be useful – members drive a variety of vehicles from smaller Suzuki Skoda and VWs with four wheel drive to Land Rover Defenders, Discoveries and Nissan L200 pick-ups.

Norman said: “As long as it’s got four-wheel drive it can be useful – especially vehicles with a low-ratio gearbox and ‘diff lock’ (locking differential).

“But you don’t need to have a 4×4 to join up – we also have a computer-based control team, media, fundraising and training teams as well as support functions for the charity.”

The group started in 2002 in Somerset and has grown to cover the whole of the Avon & Somerset police area, as well as Dorset and Wiltshire.

It is split into local teams – the Bristol and South Gloucestershire team has around 24 members, from a total of 226 responders overall.

They work with local resilience forums, which are partnerships involving the emergency services, councils, NHS and Environment Agency, to provide logistical support in emergencies.

Members are given training to help utilise their vehicles and build their own skills, and also hold social events to build team spirit and share their passion for 4x4s.

For more details visit, where there is a link to an application form.