Our second year of operation as an Independent Rescue Service has finished on a high. During the course of the year regular training sessions saw the crew, not only grow in number, but also in competency and expertise. This was highlighted by the swift and efficient response to many call outs, all of which ended without loss of life or limb. One rescue in particular saw the boat called to the aid of two canoeists, who had been overturned in to a cold March sea. Although it was sunny, there was a large swell and they struggled to stay afloat. Within 13 minutes of being alerted, the boat was plucking them out of the water, but this was not all. It was very apparent to the crew that both casualties were suffering from severe hypothermia and needed urgent medical attention. Contact was immediately made with both the local Coastguard and the Air Ambulance, and a combined operation by the three services saw the beach cleared for a helicopter landing to whisk the casualties straight to Derriford hospital where they made a complete recovery. Episodes such as this bear testimony to the importance of the ‘Hope Cove Life Boat’ and serve to illustrate the professionalism with which the crew carry out their voluntary duties.
None of this of course, would be possible without the generous support received from so many, both local and from many miles away. So much so that The Trustees and Crew of ‘Hope Cove Life Boat’ (HCLB) are delighted to announce that they have placed an order for a new boat, to be delivered at Easter 2013. Additionally, a new launching vehicle has been purchased and this will be ready for service almost immediately.
Included in the ever lengthening roll of those who have donated so freely, are very many groups, individuals, associations, and business’s both locally, throughout Devon and indeed the rest of the Country and abroad. Those of us involved in the day to day organisation of the Life Boat are extremely grateful, and are both staggered and humbled by the wealth of interest and assistance. From small children giving some of their pocket money to the more elderly donating part of their hard earned pension; from small groups organising quiz nights, folk dances, cake and book sales etc., to larger concerns organising activities such dinners, dances, raffles and sponsored events; and others, be they individuals, larger conglomerates, or just interested parties who want to donate.
However, this does not mean the end of fund raising; in fact the opposite could not be more true! Our only income is through donations, and running costs for the boat are in excess of £25,000.00 per year. Part of this expenditure is crew training and we are very pleased to have recruited, and trained, several ‘young’ members this year, and are taking steps to promote a junior section next year.
On a more immediate basis, although we have ordered a new boat, we still have a shortfall to raise before taking delivery. This should not sound as foolhardy as one might think. We have been ‘pledged’ various amounts, and if the level of income is maintained at its current level we are confident of reaching our target, but please continue with your support.
When the HCLB charity was ‘founded’ at the end of 2011, one of the biggest challenges was to be able to be in a position to purchase a new vessel for 2013, knowing the current one would then be ‘past its sell by date’. Some gave us little chance, but the optimism, dynamism and sheer hard work of the majority has helped to realise our first ambition. The new boat will be manufactured by ‘Ribcraft’ of Yeovil who are specialists in the construction of custom designed commercial vessels. Indeed, they built all the rescue craft used at the sailing events at the recent Olympics. Our craft will be just over 6 metres in length, be able to seat 4 crew, be driven by twin 90 horse power engines, and be fully equipped with the latest in technological search and rescue aids. It will be built to the highest current specifications to exceed the standards required now and meet the expected ones for the future and will compare with the very best of boats of similar size used by other rescue organisations.
The hard work has only really just started, but we believe that Hope Cove Life Boat is in the infancy of (hopefully) a long and illustrious career. Thank you for helping in its ‘nursery’ stage and long may your interest and involvement continue.
Graham Phillips ( Chairman Hope Cove Life Boat )
All the above brought mention in local and regional newspapers, local radio and even BBC and ITV television sent crews to film the boat in action. Links to most of these items are below;