Celebrations as rescue service is saved

A SEASIDE rescue service faced with closure today announced it had been saved - and would be operational this summer.

A SEASIDE rescue service faced with closure today announced it had been saved - and would be operational this summer.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, which costs £10,000 a year to run, feared it would have to wind-up because of the lack of a major sponsor.

But with just days to go to its self-imposed deadline for closure, it has received a series of offers of help.

Chairman John Cresswell said the campaign to save the group, which patrols the resort's coast, giving safety advice and responding to rescues and alerts from the Coastguard, had been disappointing until the deadline was set.

He said: “It was only after that that we suddenly started receiving help from various sources.

“This included local voluntary groups, a local businessman, a shipping company and private individuals, one of whom gave a sizeable donation and came from the Woodbridge area.

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“A group of seafront property residents rallied round to give their support and one elderly lady even offered to sell part of her premises in order to finance us.

“I had been secretly optimistic that there would be an 11th hour bid to save this unique service for Felixstowe, and indeed Suffolk.

“However, while pledges are still coming in, we are not out of the woods yet because if we cannot attract a core sponsor we will undoubtedly face the same financial crisis yet again next year.”

Grants have also been received from Suffolk Coastal and Felixstowe Town Council, and desperately needed new engines for the vessel Volunteer have been part-sponsored by Suzuki Marine UK and Seamark Nunn, of Trimley St Martin.

Mr Cresswell thanked everyone who had supported the service.

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