Felixstowe volunteer rescue service is saved for another year
An award-winning coastal rescue service will be back on the waves this weekend – thanks to a last-ditch fundraising appeal to save it from closure.
Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service has not been operational this season because it could not raise the cash for fuel to get out on the water.
Service chairman John Cresswell said it was with “deepest regret” that the committee had decided to close the service after 19 years.
But now thanks to an appeal to raise up to £10,000 to keep it afloat for the rest of the summer season, the service is to continue and hoping, with the public behind it, that it will be also be able to raise the £18,000 needed to run next summer.
Mr Cresswell said he had been “overwhelmed by the sheer amount of public support we’ve had”.
He added: “This return to service marks a whole new beginning for us.
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“In the past we’ve always looked for the majority of our funds from big organisations and businesses, but our recent experience of talking to the public has been a revelation.
“People are beginning to know more about us, and to understand what we are trying to do – making our coastline and beaches safe for residents and visitors alike, so that families can use our beaches safely and with confidence.”
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The appeal was launched through Facebook and a justgiving page, and there have also been donations from local organisations and the public at an open day on The Triangle in Felixstowe town centre.
Mr Cresswell said: “People told us how much they appreciated what we do. While their children enjoyed sitting at the boat’s controls, mums told us that they wanted to see our crews back on patrol every weekend.
“Almost everyone dug deep into their pockets to find a few pounds or a few pence – and one man emptied his pockets for us, donating well over £100.”
Over the years the service has saved the lives of 67 people and rescued many more in a variety of incidents.
At this year’s Felixstowe Carnival weekend – the only time it was able to operate – crew members rescued two teenagers who got into difficulty and were just minutes from drowning.