Three firefighters from Gloucestershire Water Rescue Centre won the best water rescue team title after a gruelling two day event at the National Rescue Challenge event, held in Lincolnshire.

The trio faced off against nine other teams from all over the country, including two representing London Fire Brigade and hosts Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue. It was the first time a water-based rescue challenge had been included in the event.

The teams had to overcome a number of tasks, including doing complicated manoeuvers in an unfamiliar boat, displaying rowing skills when a powered boat couldn't be used and rescuing a man who had fallen overboard.

Phil Ryan, station commander at Tewkesbury fire station, picked up the team award alongside colleagues Adrian Lawman and Ben Peachey. Phil said: "We had done some training beforehand but we had no idea whatsoever of what it was going to be about.

"I was gobsmacked when we won. I couldn't believe it and it took a while to sink in.

"We're all very happy and it means next year we'll have to try and retain the title."

South Wales Fire and Rescue picked up awards for best crash rescue and rope rescue teams in the UK.

Story posted on 31/08/2012