Ilfracombe RNLI reviews its year

First ever Ilfracombe lifeboat Open Event is a great success at Ilfracombe Yacht Club.

THE first ever Ilfracombe RNLI Open Evening has been hailed a huge success.

More than 60 people gathered at Ilfracombe Yacht Club on Wednesday night to hear about the charity’s work in the town, fund raising success and emergency call outs during the past 12 months.

In the past year the volunteer Ilfracombe crews were called out 41 times, with nine shouts for the all weather Mersey-class lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire and 32 for the station’s inshore lifeboat Deborah Brown II.

A dozen of these were after dark and a total of 44 people were assisted following 1,553 hours at sea.


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At the inaugural Open Event, members of the RNLI team spoke about the year, including volunteer lifeboat operations manager Colin Knill, whose report was illustrated with footage filmed on call outs and exercises using the station’s helmet camera.

Tony Gillam, chairman of the Ilfracombe fund raising team, said it had been a challenging year but the station had been the most successful in the region after smashing its �9,000 target in just eight weeks as part of a South West appeal to buy new state-of-the-art life jackets for crew members.

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Crew volunteer and singing entertainer, Mark Weeks acted as compere, introducing each speakers, including Tamsin Thomas, RNLI South West public relations manager, who talked about the value of cameras on lifeboats.

She showed footage from the days of Pathe news and then excerpts of recent news coverage enhanced by RNLI footage. The Yacht Club also provided a buffet.

Ilfracombe Coxswain Andrew Bengey spoke about his 33 year career and the lifeboat men who had inspired him at the beginning of his lifeboat career.

He said he was delighted to see so many people at the Yacht Club:

“It’s always good to have an opportunity to thank our supporters, especially those who worked hard to raise the money for our new life jackets in record time,” he said.

“We plan to make this an annual event so the community can hear what we have been up to and to ask any questions.”

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