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Final bid to save Felixstowe’s coast rescue service

13:37 06 August 2015

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol and Rescue Service carrying out the rescue on carnival day last month. Photo: Ron Impey.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol and Rescue Service carrying out the rescue on carnival day last month. Photo: Ron Impey.

Archant

A last-ditch effort is being made to save a multi award-winning coastal rescue service after its leader said it would close down this summer amid financial problems.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service has not been operational this season because it cannot raise the cash for fuel to get out on the water.

However, on the resort’s carnival weekend, it did get to sea and proved its worth – rescuing two teenagers who got into difficulty and were just minutes from drowning.

Service chairman John Cresswell said it was with “deepest regret” that the committee had decided to close the service after 19 years.

He said: “This has been an extremely difficult decision to make spanning a two-year period, but has finally been forced upon us mainly by the dire lack of both moral and financial support.”

Over the years the service has saved the lives of 67 people and rescued many more in a variety of incidents.

Problems set in for the service in late 2013 after its team was involved in a serious crash on the A12 as it travelled to help with the floods rescue operation.

But Mr Cresswell said securing enough funding from local authorities had been a major problem, despite figures showing 46 peple had died on the east coast in the last five years and 636 people had been rescued – a figure which does not include those incidents attended by private rescue services.

A new Facebook-based supporters group is now trying to raise enough cash to keep the service going.

Group spokesman Chris Gosling said: “The rescue service needs annual funding of around £18,000 to keep operating, but at this moment in time, it would cost around £8,000 to £10,000 to operate for the rest of 2015, or a lesser amount of emergency funding to let it retain its assets and crew members and rebuilt its funding base with more income from the public, and less dependence on cash-strapped local authorities.”

Crew member Michael Crisp has created a justgiving.com appeal page and in just four days raised £2,000.

The supporters group has also organised two events in the town centre – displays of the rescue boat Volunteer on the Triangle, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, tomorrow and Friday, August 21, when crew members will be on hand to explain how the service works, and there will be opportunities for people to donate to the fund.

43 comments

  • I have seen the landrover with JC in it on a public road in Felixstowe, with red and blue emergency style strobe lights operating behind the windscreen, got to be illegal? These people mean well, but they just seem like wannabe amateur coastguards

    Report this comment

    john

    Sunday, August 9, 2015

  • ages ago there was an offer to make a slipway for it right near the pier . this would have been excellent high profile site but it was scoffed at. i now think hethey prefer to be away from prying eyes!

    Report this comment

    barry chark

    Sunday, August 9, 2015

  • "C Ray ? ;-)" Can you explain?

    Report this comment

    Sue

    Sunday, August 9, 2015

  • Hmmm... more meaningless stuff from JackHammer - are all the charity's supporters so obtuse?

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • Surprising what you can find out ;-)

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • C Ray ? ;-)

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • Some interesting questions there, which I'm sure the EADT will want answered.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • Some interesting questions there, which I'm sure the EADT will want answered.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • Actually just to show I am ready to be proved wrong, I will personally pledge £500 to the fund if Coast Patrol publicly show their accounts and they support all the claims they and John Cresswell make. To start, can you show the £5000 insurance bills a year? Can you show that all your crew are first aid qualified? Can you show what percentage of your crews have any boating qualification at all?Can you show that all (if indeed any) of your crews are police vetted? According to the website the answer to the last three questions are 100%. PS Why have you run out of money?

    Report this comment

    Sue

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • Not £15000 as the grant was increased to £25000 If the boat is not being used why can't it be sold to fund fuel for the first boat? Also, can Jack show any evidence that the police promised fuel cost for the second boat or is that just another Coast Patrol unsupported claim?

    Report this comment

    Sue

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • So that's another £15K of taxpayer's money wasted....

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • The £15,000 was spent on a police patrol boat (guardian). This was Tim's idea to be used for Police work and patrolling. Fuel allowance was promised by the PCC but never materialised. So as it stands Guardian is currently in a yard at Levington Marina (SYH) as the service can't afford to run her with no funding. Hope that clears that rumour up.

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • OK, it looks like the grant from the PCC was £15K, not £25K, and that it wasn't approved by Tim Passmore until August last year, so it wouldn't yet show on the Charity Commission website. But it does still make you wonder where this £15000 has gone.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • @sue - It's obvious that there may be much more to this story than anyone's letting on. If there was an additional contribution of £25K, this would have had to appear in the figures sent to the Charity Commission, yet it wasn't. The defensively hostile stance of the charity's supporters is another giveaway. I wonder whether the EADT will pursue the story, or prefer to sweep it under the carpet?

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • While not deliberate, the A12 crash was John Cressell's fault entirely. He overloaded the trailer, drove to fast and then didn't react in time, so who else could be to blame? However everything was covered by insurance and the PCC then donated an extra £25,000 and there is no accountability for this money at all. This service would be so much easier to justify if John didn't try to mislead people every time he opens his mouth. Maybe he would explain why they have just run out of money so spectacularly?

    Report this comment

    Sue

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • @ Peter your wasting seconds of your life talking with these haters. The fact theyve raised almost £5,000 in 8 days tells you the public are behind them 100%. Enough said ;-)

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

  • The accounts are on the Charities Commission web site. They are abreviated though and not very transparent. It is unwise these days to run a charity which is not also a limited company with audited and published accounts. However this cannot take away from the service provided by Mr Cresswell and his team. Years ago I was taken for a ride on the East Anglian Sailing Trust RHIB and we broke down. We were being swept into the Felixstowe Dock wall when Volunteer happened to pass and tow us into Levington. We had no radio and could not have called RNLI or come to that anyone else. I support RNLI and I sail in the area and I also support Mr Cresswell and his team but I totally object to the way people are being allowed to cast aspersions without any evidence on this site.

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • @amsterdam81 - I've looked on the Charity Commission website, and the accounts are not available, perhaps because the charity's income is below the £25K threshold. So, even if they've been submitted, the accounts are not published on the Charity Commission's website as you claimed.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Bedouin. Not sure where you are looking but the accounts to March 2014 were posted in January and I guess this years will be posted next January. Not sure why the Charity Commission would allow anyone not to comply, but perhaps you know better.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • @JackHammer - You spoke too soon! The moderators have now removed your abusive post.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • @amsterdam81 - The charity hasn't submitted accounts in the last 5 years, so you can't see them on the Charity Commission website.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • @sailordave this is a registered charity (1082443) and accounts are published on the charity commissions web site.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Someone who hates you normally hates you for one of three reasons: 1.They either see you as a threat. 2.They hate themselves. 3.They want to be you.

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • In general I dislike all charity but this one is an exception. The RNLI do a brilliant job but they only attend incidents they are called to. The Volunteers are about waiting for incidents to happen and they used to be very useful on the River Orwell when they had funding. There seems to be a lot of ill-feeling against John Cresswell and the single sentence remarks that are not backed up with evidence or even allegations should be moderated out.

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • 67 people walking the streets today because of these guys.

    Report this comment

    richie w

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • If they had a serious crash on the A12 in 2013 why has this not been sorted out? Did they not have insurance or was there not adequate insurance. I'm not sure of the merits of each service but surely the RNLI is better equipped and better funded and more importantly available 24-7-365.

    Report this comment

    R2 D2

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • @BedouinSailorDave Why you both come down and meet the crew tomorrow in Felixstowe at the Triangle opposite Tesco between 10am and 4.30pm I'm sure they'd love to hear your views about the service, and could also audit their books. My guess is though you'd rather play keyboard warriors. Prove me wrong ;-)

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • @Sailor boy I'm sure the accounts are available to see if you ask FVCPRS

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • @Bedouin perhaps the mods agree also "Your a hater"

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Sorry but your obviously as brain washed as every other volunteer supporter! How do you justify doing 4,000 miles per year please? And why has the charity never published their accounts? Sorry but something doesn't smell right to me....

    Report this comment

    SailorDave

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • @JackHammer - I'm not sure "toffee nosed hater" fully complies with the T&Cs of posting here, no doubt the moderators will remove your post in due course. In the meantime, I don't have any intention of needing a tow, I'm quite self-sufficient. And, interestingly, the RNLI don't charge salvage...

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Obviously quite a few uninformed people commenting on here. Harwich RNLI are paged when needed, head to the craft and launch then head in the direction of the incident. the Felixstowe Coast Patrol Rescue Service patrol the shoreline so are onscene much faster. There is also lots of other work they do on the coast and rivers for other agencies such as the police. Looking for bodies from Orwell Bridge jumpers, patrolling mourings to help reduce thefts, security duty during the Olympic torch tour etc etc etc. This is fact and this has proven to save lives. Some of the comments imply the volunteers do it for fun, out on their speed boat in they flashy outfits and looking cool, seriously, do you think these guys don't have families they'd much rather be spending time with, other things to spend their money on (yes, their own money, as several of them fund their own gear and training). If Mr Cresswell had the paper 'in his pocket' do you not think the funds would have been raised by now! And to suggest the motor accident was their own fault is crazy. Do you really think they spent 17 years building the service just to mess about and crash in to each other! Ultimately, if you agree with the service then help them out and donate, if you prefer the RNLI then donate to them but if you don't want to donate then just don't. But please don't belittle the vital work these well trained and dedicated guys do without pay.

    Report this comment

    Homeofstowe

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • I'm sure this service is well meaning but their difficulties are self inflicted. I understand the damage was due to them crashing into each other. While unfortunate it doesn't seem they acted very professionally or mitigated any risks to the service.I'm sure they have a lot of fun providing a service but on balance any available cash would be better donated to the RNLI. Someone on this blog talks about the high cost of salvage but any such costs for recovering boats or equipment should be fully covered by marine insurance.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • The town would do better without if you realised who the RNLI are and how they run volunteer

    Report this comment

    SailorDave

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • You sir do not have a clue

    Report this comment

    SailorDave

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Mr Creswell is a blatant liar.

    Report this comment

    SailorDave

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Some of you really have no clue at all how muvh hard work these volunteers put into this. They are fully equiped with life saving equipment and have to pay for there selfs. With out these guys there would be many more not so much saved you only have to see the teenagers they saved at the weekend of the carnival which they nearly driwned the rescue service were partrolling the waters at the time for the airshow they.

    Report this comment

    Antony Perkins

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • And que the admin removing all negative posts as Mr Creswell clearly has them in his pocket....

    Report this comment

    SailorDave

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • @JackHammer - Yes, I know what they do, I sail in the area and know the waters well. I also know that the RNLI service is more comprehensive, better equipped and well-funded. I'm sure the volunteers would love to keep tearing around in a blur of dayglo orange, but you have to ask why their presence is needed when the RNLI can offer so much.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Can't they get themselves a few high quality sea kayaks? They only really need patrol a small area around the pier, that's where most of the families swim.

    Report this comment

    Tamara Knight

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • why he wouldnt set up near the pier is anybodys guess better and cheaper idea is to have a couple of beach lifeguards , like other towns have

    Report this comment

    barry chark

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Is it needed? Do you actually know anything about the service and what they actually do?

    Report this comment

    Jack Hammer

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Is the Volunteer Rescue Service actually needed? The RNLI has both inshore and offshore lifeboats stationed nearby in Harwich harbour, and is better equipped and better funded to provide rescue services.

    Report this comment

    bedouin

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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