The annual event, held this year on Sunday 7th July was organised by the RNLI volunteers who save lives at sea, to raise vital funds for the charity’s new Weston lifeboat station and vital life-saving equipment.
The sun was shining all day for the crowds that were treated to a variety of rescue displays by the stations two lifeboats, who were also joined by the Barry Dock Trent class all-weather lifeboat and the Atlantic 85 lifeboat from Burnham-on-Sea.
The RNLI volunteers were also joined by a range of other organisations including the Weston Coastguard Rescue Team, Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Southern Western Ambulance Service and the Police cadets who all brought equipment and set up display stands for the public to view. Local singing group, ‘The Barnacle Buoys’ also entertained the crowd with a range of sea shanty songs through the day.
The four lifeboats demonstrated their maneuverability; speed and rescue techniques close to shore with the public getting a fantastic view of man-overboard recoveries, towing techniques, anchoring and casualty extraction with the Coastguard Rescue Team.
The event was split across three locations with lifeboat displays and stalls at the RNLI shop at Anchor Head, a hovercraft and safety advice at the station on Knightstone Plaza and then a range of stalls, games and refreshments being provided at the planned location of the new lifeboat station at the former ‘Cove Restaurant’ site on Marine Lake. Recognition awards were also presented to two young supporters for their fund-raising efforts by the Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Buckland.
As the Weston lifeboats launched from their temporary station at Knightstone, an emergency call was received reporting a swimmer struggling against a strong current at Anchor Head. With the D class lifeboat, The Adrian Beaumont, already afloat, it arrived on scene quickly and helped the swimmer aboard the lifeboat and then brought him ashore to be checked over.
Lifeboat crewman, Chris Cox who organised the boat demonstrations and provided the live commentary said: ‘It was fantastic to see so many people watching the demonstrations and taking a keen interest in the work that we do saving lives. To be supported by our flank stations really made the day special and we are thankful to the crews at Barry Dock and Burnham-on-Sea for joining us with their lifeboats’.
Pete Elmont, Fundraising Chairman of the Weston RNLI said: ‘We are grateful for all the support and donations given at this year’s Open Day which go towards helping us to continue saving lives at sea’. The day was a huge success with a record amount being raised for our volunteers’.
The photos below are credited to Neil Berrill.