Members of Woolacombe Surf Lifesaving Club from the beginning to the present gather to mark its 50th anniversary.

THE 50th anniversary reunion of Woolacombe Surf Lifesaving Club has been hailed “absolutely fantastic” as people travelled from across the South West and beyond to attend.

Founded in 1962 by local police officers to prevent a tide of drownings at Woolacombe, the former North Devon SLSC found a home in the coastal resort and helped save numerous lives.

Organiser Alan Kift said an estimated 400 people attended the event at the Red Bran on Saturday night, of those around 250 were attached to the club in one way or another.

“There were youngsters, older people, wives and friends,” said Mr Kift, one of the earliest members and a former volunteer lifeguard.

“We had people travel from Looe, Plymouth, Reading and Surrey, it was fantastic. We uncovered some treasures too, old photographs and films of the early 60s, which we will reproduce at a later date.”

The night saw the coming together of three Royal Humane Society awards on Vellum for lifesaving – including Vic Watts, aged 84 from Ilfracombe, one of the police volunteers who founded the club. The other two were Steve Latham and Mr Kift. Former club member Paul Latham, awarded Vellum for a rescue at Praa Sands, was also in attendance.

Former club member Paul Latham, awarded Vellum for a rescue at Praa Sands, was also in attendance.

All enjoyed the opportunity for a rare get together, the chance to rekindle old friendships and view some of the little seen club memorabilia and photographs from the earliest days.