Weston RNLI has busy Air Days weekend and receives fantastic donation from club
Traditionally Weston RNLI station is on standby throughout the weekend of Air Days in case we are needed, even though we are not part of the event itself. This year we were busy with six shouts, plus greeting visitors and moving vessels from the display zone.
Each year a major Air Show is held on Weston-super-Mare Beach. It attracts many thousands of visitors who come to watch such displays as the Red Arrows, the battle of Britain Memorial flight and many more. The RNLI are not part of the show but the volunteers on the station have always maintained a standby watch in case they are needed.
The weekend started before the displays on the Beach Lawns, when the lifeboat was launched due to a person standing in the mud with the tide rushing in. When she saw the lifeboat she turned and reached the beach safely. This was typical of many of the call outs that weekend.
There were reports of swimmers entering the sea and not returning, people stuck in the mud and despite warnings about the dangers, people were still trying to access the derelict Birnbeck Island. In each case searches were conducted in conjunction with Weston Coastguard and the BARB hovercraft, which had come over from Burnham for the weekend.
The Sunday started in a similar manner. After an early morning shout the station was visited by the Bath Classic Motorcycle Club. About 20 vintage motorcycles surrounded the temporary station and the club presented us with a cheque for £620. The club have been visiting RNLI stations for over 20 years, but this was their first time at Weston.
Mike Buckland, Helm Weston RNLI said: ‘We can only carry out our role of saving lives at sea thanks to the generosity of people like you, the Bath Classic Motorcycle Club. Thank you very much indeed.’
Various incidents followed later in the day. A person was reported trying to access Birnbeck Island. Both the BARB hovercraft and our D Class lifeboat were tasked. As the lifeboat proceeded to the Pier, the man was seen returning to the shore. On another occasion the hovercraft was tasked to two men stuck in the mud at Sand Bay. They loaded the hovercraft onto their trailer and drove around to the men, while the Weston lifeboat sailed around and stood by. They lifeboat crew were prepared to wade over to pick up the casualties, but the hovercraft arrived and was able to pick them up. It did not have room for all on board so two coastguards remained with the lifeboat. The station also acted as a first aid venue, with seven minor injuries dealt with in total.
On one occasion, just before the Red Arrows display on Sunday, various large yachts and motor cruisers came too close inshore into the exclusion zone designed to keep the public safe. The lifeboats were tasked to drive these boats away so the display could take place.
Richard Spindler, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Weston said: 'This was one of the busiest weekends for some time. It was good working with our colleagues in the other rescue services and we are pleased that no one came to significant harm.’
RNLI notes to editors
The enclosed pictures show:
- The Bath Classic Club presenting the cheque to Mike Buckland
- The Air Show as the D Class speeds to aid
RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact Weston-super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Glyn Hayes on 01934 645555 or Chris Lyons Deputy RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07825 347697
Lifeboats in service at Weston-super-Mare
- Atlantic 75 class Lifeboat Coventry and Warwickshire
- D Class Lifeboat Anna Stock
The station was established in 1882 at the request of the local inhabitants and moved into its current boathouse in 1902. In 2013 we had to leave our lifeboat station on Birnbeck Island as the access pier had become too dangerous. The temporary station at Knightstone is our base until a new station is built.
To find out more information about Weston-super-Mare RNLI station and for recent events, please log onto our website www.westonrnli.org.uk or contact Glyn Hayes on 01934 645555.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.