Minehead's upgraded lifeboat station unveiled
The wraps are coming off a spectacular £1 million-plus scheme to modernise the RNLI’s historic lifeboat house in Minehead.
Contractors are now in the final stages of a year-long project to upgrade facilities at the station by extending the 120-year old listed building.
The long-awaited development will provide the crew with their first proper changing rooms, space for training sessions, and a galley.
But the most important innovation is a separate boat hall for the station’s smaller, D class lifeboat where it will remain permanently attached to its tractor ready for a speedy launch through the harbour.
A number of individual, six-figure donations have helped pay for the work on the station where crews respond to more than 40 emergency calls a year along a 30-mile stretch of the Bristol Channel coast.
Minehead RNLI chairman Richard Newton said the build would completely transform life for the volunteers.
“They will be going from a damp, cramped building designed for the lifeboats of last century to modern, comfortable surroundings with up-to-date facilities,” he said.
“Having the D class permanently hitched to its tractor is going to shave minutes off our response times and make launching both our boats a far less complicated affair.
“We have had tremendous local support in raising funds for the project which has shown us yet again how highly the RNLI is regarded within the West
Final fitting-out of the building is now underway while the hard landscaping outside now features an area of Purbeck stone recycled from the gold award-winning show garden for the RNLI designed by lifelong lifeboats supporter Chris Beardshaw for last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Station personnel are expected to move out of their temporary home and into the new building in early spring.
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 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.
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