Weston RNLI had one of its most successful Open Days on Sunday.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Annual RNLI Open Day at Weston-super-Mare included lifeboats, helicopters, hovercraft and sailing boats all exercising for the benefit for the public. The display was widely acclaimed as the best for many years.

Every year the RNLI lifeboat station at Weston holds an Open Day at which the public can see the way the station and its fundraisers work. There are displays, exhibits and various stalls. Our fellow emergency services also attend if they can.

This year the Open Day was split between the station on Knightstone Piazza and the RNLI shop at Anchor Head. At the station there were displays of the lifeboats, the Coastguard and Fire Service, Sea Safety equipment and advice, and Face-Painting. At the shop there was a cake stall, a tombola and the Barnacle Buoys choir sang.

The highlight of the day was the demonstrations on the sea in front of Anchor Head of the lifeboats exercising with Rescue 187, the very impressive coastguard helicopter from St Athan. This is the helicopter we work with in real-life situations when needed. The lifeboats showed how they powered their boats under the helicopter so a line could be passed between them. One of the aircrew dropped into one of the boats on this line and then two RNLI crewmen were airlifted into the helicopter in turn. This was done close enough inshore for the crowd to see clearly both the winching and the interior of the helicopter.

After the helicopter had returned to base, the lifeboats then exercised by dealing with a collision between a hovercraft and a sailing boat. This collision caused a man to enter the water so the lifeboats had to pick up the casualty and transfer him ashore to the waiting coastguard. Then they had to take the two supposedly damaged vessels in tow to complete the demonstrations.

The hovercraft was driven by its owner Kim Taylor from Warwickshire. His appearance was arranged by the Hover Club UK via Ross Floyd.

There was much praise from the public about the displays and they contributed donations and bought items in the shop.

The total income from all activities was £787.70 and the shop income for the day was £841.15.

George Papworth, President of the Weston RNLI fundraisers said: ‘I have been attending Open Days for many years and this was certainly one of the best. My thanks go to all the organisers, the fundraisers, the crew, all those who donated tombola prizes and delicious home-made cakes, and, of course the public, without whom we could not continue our role of saving lives at sea.’