Volunteers get lifeline

VOLUNTEER rescuers who patrol the sea and shore at Felixstowe have been handed a lifeline to keep the service going.

VOLUNTEER rescuers who patrol the sea and shore at Felixstowe have been handed a lifeline to keep the service going.

The last-minute reprieve happened as crew members were preparing to pack up for the summer after running out of cash.

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said the craft Volunteer had just returned from the seafront to Levington on Sunday afternoon after what was presumed to be her last patrol of the summer.

“Just as I was telling the marina harbourmaster that Volunteer was to be taken out of the water and that her berth would then be available for visitors, I was handed an envelope containing cheques totalling £1,000 from two members of the Haven Ports Yacht Club at Levington,” he said.

“They were aware of our plight and said they valued our services.

“We are not out of the woods by any means but these donations do mean that we can carry out patrols throughout August and perhaps into September only pending no unforeseen circumstances.

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“Yet again it has been the public that has come to our rescue and we are sincerely grateful.”

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

Mr Cresswell is planning to meet with Suffolk Coastal to see if the council would be willing to consider again providing the core funding for the service.

It costs between £18,000 and £20,000 to run the service each year, including £200 on fuel each weekend. The town council gives a grant but more than £15,000 is made up from donations from the public.

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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