Rapid Relief Teams attend Norfolk Helicopter Crash

Local civilian volunteers assisted emergency and military personnel attending the scene of the helicopter crash at Cley Marshes Nature Reserve on the evening of Tuesday 7th January.

Plymouth Brethren - Cley

Cley Marshes

Following the tragic helicopter crash near Cley next the Sea last Tuesday evening, scores of civilian and military personnel were rapidly drafted in to the area. With the cold night air settling on the bleak salt marshes it was essential that they were provided with food and drink to maintain their strength and morale.

Rapid Relief Teams (RRT) run by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church provide practical support at emergencies and disasters throughout the world. RRT volunteers all have full-time jobs but willingly donate their time to this work. Equipment and supplies are also financed by the volunteers, although local supermarkets and businesses sometimes generously donate food and other provisions.

Plymouth Brethren - Clay Marshes

Helicopter over marshes.

At 11.30 that evening, a team of four RRT volunteers living in Swaffham set off on the fifty mile journey to Cley, taking essential supplies donated by local stores.

David Wright, Night Manager of Tesco in Dereham generously donated food worth £148. Later on in the night, Tesco in Sheringham also donated much-needed supplies as these began to dwindle.

“Tesco really made a difference” said local RRT spokesman Jonathan Jackson. “At that time of night our options for buying food supplies were limited, but they were excellent.”

RRT arrived at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes Visitor Centre soon after 1.00am, where a temporary command post had been established. Using the Centre’s excellent kitchen, RRT were soon offering free hot and cold drinks and snacks to over one hundred personnel.


Norwich RRT reinforcements arrived shortly afterwards, and for nine hours a constant supply of hot filled rolls, coffee and tea was provided for personnel as they rotated duties or remained at their posts.

The Visitor Centre staff arrived shortly after 9.00am and offered to prepare a hot lunch for all personnel. With an RAF field kitchen due to arrive shortly after noon, RRT realised that their job was done so agreed to stand down by 10.00am.

Plymouth Brethren - Cley Marshes

Inside Cley Marshes Visitor Centre

“We are extremely grateful for the service you provided during those first, crucial hours. It has been an exceptionally long shift for many” said Flight Lieutenant James Pettit of RAF Marham, who was at the scene of the crash.

“What an awesome mission you do to support the first responders. I’m sure they were incredibly grateful” added Captain Emily C Grabowski, Public Affairs Chief at RAF Lakenheath.

Plymouth Brethren Rapid Relief team

Members of the Dereham and Norwich Rapid Relief Team who attended the Cley Marsh Accident


8 thoughts on “Rapid Relief Teams attend Norfolk Helicopter Crash”

  1. zykoda says:

    Any news yet?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t we zoom the last image???

    1. Granny says:

      Just Ctrl and scroll!

  3. sumting says:

    Thats awesome, it amazes me what you volunteers do. A very selfless and charitable act. The 3rd helicopter crash now in the UK that you have attended?

  4. Granny says:

    My word – here’s another team helping out!! What a sad occurrence on such inhospitable terrain. Glad you were able to make a difference to the emergency teams who do such a good job in circumstances like this. Well done to Jono & Co.

  5. Onlooker says:

    A tragic loss of life, of those who do so much for their country and ours!

    Excellent work though RRT, supporting the first responders – making their incredibly difficult job a little easier, and more effective by keeping their morale up!

    1. Me! says:

      Could someone tell us what actually happened in this accident?
      Well done again RRT – invaluable work you are doing…

    2. MaryJ says:

      Investigations are ongoing as to the cause of the crash, which happened after dark while the two helicopters were on exercises. See reports in eg The Daily Telegraph for more details.

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