Co-op rides to save coastal patrol

ONE of Suffolk's leading companies is launching a major fundraising project to help keep Felixstowe's volunteer patrol and rescue service afloat.To launch the initiative, the East of England Co-operative Society donated £1,000 to help the crew of the Volunteer carry on until the end of the current summer season.

ONE of Suffolk's leading companies is launching a major fundraising project to help keep Felixstowe's volunteer patrol and rescue service afloat.

To launch the initiative, the East of England Co-operative Society donated £1,000 to help the crew of the Volunteer carry on until the end of the current summer season.

From October 6, customers shopping at the company's supermarket, Home Store, pharmacy and opticians in Hamilton Road, and using the petrol station in High Road West, will be able to collect special vouchers - with the Co-op giving 5p for every £10 spent to the rescue service.

Co-op bosses are hoping the public will support the initiative, which has the potential to raise several thousand pounds.


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John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said: “This is massive help and we are thrilled the Co-op has chosen to support us in this way.

“It will allow us to plan for the future now and hopefully the service will be safe for the next couple of years.

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“One of our biggest disappointments has been that after 11 years of service we have never had a major sponsor.

“We receive a grant from the town council and some very generous donations from the public, but often we have to make appeals and a few times we have been hanging on a knife edge.”

Richard Samson, chief executive of the East of England Co-op, said: “The coast patrol rescue service has helped to save many lives and plays a vital part in our community.

“We are delighted to be able to play our part in helping to keep the Volunteer afloat until the end of the season.

“Over the coming months we will give local people the opportunity to collect vouchers from our Felixstowe town centre branches and we will turn them into real cash that will provide the coast patrol with funding to ensure it can keep going for the foreseeable future.”

The service has been called to deal with more than 800 incidents over the years, rescuing many sailors, swimmers, windsurfers, youngsters on inflatables, as well as helping with many onshore incidents, giving advice and help to people.

The service costs £15,000 to £20,000 a year to run, including fuel, training and boat maintenance.

Should councils give more of taxpayers' money to keep the Felixstowe rescue service going? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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