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Temporary respite for rescue boat

PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

BUSINESSES in Felixstowe are today being urged to get behind the town's sea rescue and patrol service – and help pay for the petrol for its boat.

The Evening Star has agreed to pay for the first weekend's fuel to enable the crew to get out on the water to reassure people enjoying the sea at the resort.

BUSINESSES in Felixstowe are today being urged to get behind the town's sea rescue and patrol service.

The Evening Star has agreed to pay for the first weekend's fuel to enable the crew to get out on the water to reassure people enjoying the sea at the resort.

And a Felixstowe-businessman has also promised to give financial assistance to the service.

But now similar support is needed from other businesses in order to ensure the Volunteer - the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol and Rescue Service's craft - is able to launch every weekend this summer.

"If 15 to 20 businesses in the area each donated £100 to £120 then we could make sure this vital service is secure for the season," said Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

"Seeing the crew patrolling on the water or on the beach ready to launch at a moment's notice gives an important reassurance to the many thousands of visitors to the resort, who will expect to see a sea safety team.

"They can be at an incident within a few minutes and the Coastguard regularly tasks them to deal with rescues and other matters. They must be kept in action because we just never know when they could be needed."

Service chairman John Cresswell said crews had been unable to operate this season so far, and will not be able to get out onto the water at all unless cash can be found for fuel.

The fuel bill was between £100 and £120 a weekend depending on workload. Last year it was £2,000 for the summer.

It costs between £10,000 and £15,000 to maintain the service each year, including looking after and replacing equipment, insurance and training. Most of the money is raised by sponsorship and some grant aid, or paid by the members.

"When I look back at our modest income and spiralling outgoings over the six years we have been in operation I am both amazed and proud that we have achieved so much in so little time," said Mr Cresswell.

"It is a huge tribute to our many friends, supporters, sponsors and not least to the volunteers themselves."

Over the past two years, the service has handled incidents involving more than 250 people, including 43 casualties in incidents tasked by Thames Coastguard. Seven people needed hospital treatment.

As well as keeping boats out of the swim zone, giving advice to jet-skiers and other water users, the crew has rescued people from the hazardous Deben Bar.

Suffolk Coastal council, which has a £675,000 tourism budget, has told the service, which operates for free at weekends along the resort's five-mile coastline as part of a network of rescue services, it cannot help.

n If you are a business and would like to sponsor a weekend's fuel to help keep Felixstowe safe this summer, please contact Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 105B Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7BL, or on 01394 284109.


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