Funding runs out for coast patrol

VOLUNTEER rescuers who patrol the sea and shore at Felixstowe have run out of money - and will end their service this weekend.

VOLUNTEER rescuers who patrol the sea and shore at Felixstowe have run out of money - and will end their service this weekend.

Rocketing fuel prices this year and some maintenance costs have meant the service has had to spend far more than anticipated.

John Cresswell, chairman of Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said it would cease after Sunday .

He said: “The decision to withdraw the service while the resort and the service is busy is most disheartening, especially only weeks after having saved two young lives.

“During our last cash crisis in 2006 we received sufficient donations from local people and by coincidence were left a small legacy which has kept us afloat this past two years.”

He would ask Suffolk Coastal to see if the council would be willing to consider again providing the core funding for the service.

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“Other possible channels of sponsorship are being investigated in the hope of a last-minute reprieve,” said Mr Cresswell.

He stressed the service was a patrol boat and only became a “lifeboat” when it was needed in an emergency.

It costs around £18,000 to run the service each year - almost all funded by donations.

Last summer it provided 47 days' cover, responding to 51 incidents and rescuing 71 people, often called on by Thames Coastguard to deal with emergencies.