Solicitor helps rescue fellow lawyer Elizabeth in Dartmoor drama

Torbay Weekly

Lawyer Elizabeth Foster has thanked the team who rescued her after getting injured on Dartmoor - including one member who turned out to be be from 'rival' solicitors in the same town.

The Dartmoor Rescue group's Tavistock-based team went into action after Elizabeth hurt a knee while walking with her husband, Peter, on the summit of the ridge of Leather Tor, near Burrator Reservoir.

Among the rescuers was Rhodri Davey, whose day job is as managing partner of local law firm Kitsons.  Elizabeth is a family lawyer with Wollens.

Rhodri  said: "My job was to look after her husband and I was chatting to him,. He asked me what I did and when I told him I was at Kitsons, he said Elizabeth worked for Wollens."

Rhodri has been a member of the Tavistock-based rescue team for 25 years There are other teams operating out of Plymouth, Ashburton and Okehampton.  He has worked for Kitsons for the past 14 years.

"I was on a call recently with Clive Meredith, the practice director at Wollens, and he said thanks for rescuing Elizabeth," said Rhodri.

Elizabeth can remember the day vividly. She said: "It was Peter’s birthday.  We had been to Plymouth and having the idea of travelling home over Dartmoor we were equipped with a flask of tea just in case the mood took us to fit in a walk before a Thai meal that evening. We walked in the shadow of Sharpitor and I remember saying something like 'I’m not keen to go further up this tor it’s too rocky and there’s a risk of turning an ankle'.

"From the foot of Leather Tor you get an enticing glimpse of the view of Burritor reservoir and its surrounds - the fun of a clamber up the granite rocks and the promise of an uninterrupted view of Burritor was too much to ignore.

"At the top Peter was still taking in the view in the opposite direction as I decided I would do a hop, skip and a jump over to a small plateau. I had misjudged the depth of a step down onto a flat slab of rock and as the world turned side ways I heard and felt the loudest snap in my leg. I thought in an instant I had broken my leg and lay in agony.

"It wasn’t possible to get down from the 100 foot high summit, we contacted emergency services.

"It was heartening when we saw two red jackets appear. More red jackets arrived along with the paramedic team and the treatment and manoeuvres to get me off that pile of rocks were underway.  While Bea and Daniel, the Hart paramedics were attending to me and giving pain relief (wonderful!) and even more red jackets arrived with their new specialist rope equipment.

"The 21-strong team formulated their plans and the operation was soon underway to rope me down to safety.

"The rescue team were also taking care of Peter. Rhodri and Peter established between themselves that I work for Wollens and Rhodri for Kitsons. This added to the hilarity as maybe we all wondered, just for a second, whether the rescue should still continue!"

Elizabeth, who was treated at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, added: "Both Peter and I are so grateful to every one of the team. It is made up of generous people who train in their own time throughout the year and offer up their own safety for so many of us.

"Peter and I both recognise and truly appreciate the heroic and generous nature of each one of the rescuers. My experience on that day will not be forgotten for the right reasons - the expertise, commitment and kindness of every one of the DSRT-Tavistock.

"DSRT is part of Mountain Rescue England and Wales and a registered charity.  It does not benefit from government funding.  Please support DSRT in whatever way you can or donate  at"

As for her injury, Elizabeth says: "It is a multi ligament knee injury.  I have been wearing a full leg brace since the accident and will be wearing it for a number of weeks yet.  Ligament reconstruction surgery is anticipated."