Volunteers have busy summer

VOLUNTEER rescuers were called into action more times this summer than for four years, helping nearly 100 people in trouble on the waves.The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service attended 55 incidents, helping 93 people, including saving the lives of two brothers aged nine and 14 swept offshore in an inflatable dinghy.

VOLUNTEER rescuers were called into action more times this summer than for four years, helping nearly 100 people in trouble on the waves.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service attended 55 incidents, helping 93 people, including saving the lives of two brothers aged nine and 14 swept offshore in an inflatable dinghy.

Service chairman John Cresswell said the team had been patrolled for 63 days this year, the most in their ten-year history, thanks to extra funding from people and organisations.

He was now hoping the support of the East of England Co-operative Society - which is running a vouchers scheme to encourage customers to support the rescue service - will put the group on a sound financial footing for the next few years.


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“I would like to thank the Co-op and all its customers who have made a concerted effort to forward me by hand or indeed by post the many thousands of fundraising vouchers issued on our behalf,” said Mr Cresswell.

Overall incident and casualty figures this year had shown a slight increase over 2007.

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“With an exceptional 19 summer weekend days of strong wind warnings, the number of visiting yachtsmen was down and our beaches were largely very quiet - this being endorsed by our reduced number of beach first-aid incidents,” he said.

However, there were the usual array of incidents - including people overboard, helping maintain an exclusion zone after the 500lb unexploded bomb was found on the beach, drifting vessels with fouled propellers and engine problems, boats on fire and running aground.

They also helped swimmers, wind and kite surfers in trouble, assisted in pollution incidents, and gave advice on sea safety.

He believed the value of the work of Volunteer's crew had once again been confirmed.

The most serious incident involved the young brothers, who had been 200 metres out and being blown offshore when they lost their paddle, one jumping in to try to swim to it.

“Luckily, Volunteer was returning from a harbour patrol when the crew was alerted to the dire situation and arrived on-scene in four minutes,” said Mr Cresswell.

“The boys were taken on board and immediately treated for shock and hypothermia.”

What would improve safety on Felixstowe seafront? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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