FOLLOWING in the footsteps of the first successful event held in 2018, the Big Rescue Event was due to return in 2020 but, like many things, fell victim to a global pandemic.

Now in 2022 it’s back, bigger and looks like it’s going to be even better than it was before. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Big Rescue Event is a training day with a difference.

Primarily it’s aimed at climbers that already hold the NPTC 206/306 (old CS38) ticket and would benefit from a refresher. Secondly, it’s an event to raise money for the Air Ambulance Service. In 2018 it saw 100 climbers gather in Warwickshire to undertake simulated aerial tree rescues on broadleaves and poles.

Forestry Journal:

The Big Rescue Event was the brainchild of Chris Wyatt. Having spent over 20 years in the arboriculture industry, from student through contract climbing to running his own company (CTS Forestry and Arboriculture), in recent years Chris has devoted more of his time to instructing and assessing for City & Guilds NPTC, with his main focus now on what he calls the safety side of the industry.

Two years ago, CTS Forestry opened its dedicated training rooms in Warwickshire. Taking pride of place is a display board dedicated to the first Big Rescue Event, a reminder to all attendees of the importance of what it stands for.

The unit comprises two dedicated rooms. One is the ‘dirty’ side, where the chainsaw maintenance work benches are positioned, adapted to cope with social distancing guidelines. On the wall is a display comprising a completely stripped-down Stihl 261 chainsaw.

Forestry Journal:

This makes pointing out the numerous separate components of a chainsaw relatively easy and allows instructors to run through the importance and function of each part (much better than using a technical schematic drawing in a user manual). There is even room to get a chipper and stump grinder inside to run through the maintenance aspects of those machines.

On the ‘clean’ side of the training centre is a comfortable boardroom-style table, plus seating area with audio and video facilities. This area can be used for the initial parts of units that require some theory training, such as the climbing or rigging courses. More importantly the clean side is also where the tea and biscuits are kept – an essential part of any course, especially a few days of LOLER training.

Forestry Journal:

Chris likes his display boards and in the clean side are others showing the development of climbing systems from the time when he started at 18 up to the present day and the adoption of the now mandatory use of a backup or ‘two-rope’ system. 

The introduction of working with a backup system is something that has changed since the last Big Rescue Event took place. Is everyone using a back-up system or two ropes now? Would you know how to rescue someone who is using two ropes? The Big Rescue

Event 2022 will bring this important element of our industry up-to-date and for many it will be a major departure from when they passed their 
rescue ticket.

As with the Big Rescue Event 2018, Fletcher Stewart has generously agreed to be the platinum sponsor, so participants can expect to find some Stein products in the goody bags. There are also plenty of opportunities for other companies to offer to be gold, silver or bronze sponsors. 

The last event was only made possible because of the time and expertise given freely by 10 NPTC assessors. A debt of thanks is once again owed to these individuals for giving their time free of charge so that more money can be raised for the Air Ambulance Service. This year, more assessors have volunteered their services, which means more people will be able to attend. 

@forestryjournal Oooft 😍 #rottne #forestry #forestrylife #forestrymachines #forestryequipment ♬ Big Time - Skrxlla

The event is now fixed to take place on Friday, 24 June at Compton Verney in Warwickshire. Places are available for 200 climbers each paying £75 and, on successful completion, all will receive a certificate of attendance. The Air Ambulance Service will once again benefit from money raised on the day (yes, there will be a raffle again with some excellent prizes already pledged).

Forestry Journal: Chris WyattChris Wyatt

This is a service that we all hope we will never have to call upon, but should money raised because of this event help to save just one life it will have been worth it. We look forward to seeing you on the day, but if you can’t attend, please consider donating to this worthy cause.

The Big Rescue Event 2022 will be held on Friday, 24 June, at Compton Verney, Warwickshire. For more, contact Chris at