Saunton has best rescue boat crews in Europe

Joseph Bulmer

SAUNTON Sands Surf Life Saving Club has won both the British and European Inshore Rescue Boat championships.

Alongside the pier on Bournemouth seafront, IRB crews from across the UK and Europe battled for the titles.

The British event saw crews competing in four race disciplines - single rescue, mass rescue, team rescue and tube rescue.

Saunton took the title in a new Masters event for competitors over 40 years of age, which was included in the British championships for the first time this year.

The club then dominated the Open event, overcoming leading teams from Whitsand Bay, Bantham, Southbourne, Hayle, Branksome Chine and Newquay.

It made a clean sweep in the men’s and ladies’ categories and also took the overall British IRB title.

Next day came the European event, in which all the UK teams were joined by others from, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Holland and a guest team from Australia.

Again the four race disciplines were fiercely contested, but again Saunton came out on top, winning the men’s and ladies’ overall title and the coveted Arancia Trophy, presented by the New Zealand-based IRB boat builders

Saunton team members were: IRB - Paul, Jan, Rob and John Reid, James and Jacob Sharp, Richard Harrison, Ian Allen, Chris Gratton, Jeff and Sophie Priddis, Colin Leaper, Gary Poole, Andy and Ryan Bennett, Barry Charlesworth, Gill Hevingham, Daisy Freeman, Cara Deasy, Flic Elliott, Sam Cordery. Rescue Patients - Toby Freeman, Amy Harrison, Keira Tierney and Simon Harrington. Team manager - Karen Freeman. Officials - Dave Worms, Allie Priddis and Charmaine Tierney. Support crew - Tracey Leaper and Fiona Sharp.