The RNLI has a constant task of improving the facilities around the coast to ensure it can maintain its role of saving lives at sea. The latest plan for such improvements includes several stations around the Bristol Channel, one of which is Weston super Mare. To this end the RNLI has started The Bristol Channel RNLI fundraising appeal that will be collecting funds for a number of lifeboat projects in the area. This will include the new lifeboat station being constructed by the RNLI at Portishead and a future upgrade of facilities for the charity’s team at Weston super Mare.
Many will be aware that the facilities under which the volunteers of Weston-super-Mare RNLI have to operate are deteriorating. The pier along which the crews have to run to get to their boats is in poor condition, the lifeboats have had to be protected by a temporary ‘tent’ and the facilities for the crew themselves in the boathouse do not come up to modern standards. All this coincides with the RNLI working to adopt the neighbouring Portishead Lifeboat Trust and construct a new lifeboat station.
As a result the RNLI has launched a Bristol Channel Fundraising Appeal. This is an umbrella initiative which at this stage will include the construction of a new Portishead Lifeboat station and also the upgrading of the Weston super Mare facilities. It will also allow for future projects at RNLI lifeboat stations around the Bristol Channel.
As part of this appeal the Weston Super Mare volunteer crew and fundraisers are starting work to raise funds to improve their conditions. Peter Elmont, Chair of the Weston super Mare RNLI fundraising branch, explains more:
‘At this stage we do not know exactly what we will be doing to improve our facilities and at present we have several feasibility studies under way with all possible options being considered. However we need to start raising money now so we will have the funds ready for when the decisions have been made and the work can begin. It’s not possible to say at this stage how much will be needed but it is likely to be many hundreds of thousands of pounds by the time the work is completed.’
‘We hope that all the events being held by the Weston RNLI team this year will be bigger and better than in previous years. A Raft Race will take place on the Marine Lake on Saturday 27th July. The RNLI Open Day at Anchor Head on July 28th will include a demonstration by the RAF Air Sea Rescue Helicopter. We work regularly with ‘Rescue 169’ and there will be a demonstration of the crew being lifted into the helicopter just in front of the audience. Barry Dock all weather lifeboat will be there. There will also be many other demonstrations at Anchor Head on that day.’
‘The annual Lifeboat Week will start with a Grand Opening on the Grand Pier on August 10th. During the week there will be a programme of events on the Italian Gardens and High Street in Weston, including a Children’s Day. A sandcastle competition will also be held. Further details will follow when finalised.
Lifeboat Week will end with an Emergency Services Day on the Beach Lawns on August 17th. All of the rescue services, Fire, Police, Ambulance and Coastguard will be there with the Air Ambulance flying in and many other rescue services such as Cave Rescue, 4 by 4 Response, the Blood Bikes and St Johns Ambulance will be present. There will also be various vintage rescue vehicles present and it will be possible to compare these vehicles, vital in their day, with their modern equivalent.’
‘On Sunday 18th August we will be welcoming the Newfoundland Dogs who will demonstrate their life saving skills on the Marine Lake. Many other events will be organised and we will send out details as they become available.’
The Appeal is being led by Peter Elmont, the chair of Weston-super-Mare Fundraising Branch. Any suggestions, offers of help or donations to him; 01934 418920, Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org