Fears for the future of Sidmouth Lifeboat

The Sidmouth lifeboat. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref P0299-31-09AW

The Sidmouth lifeboat. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref P0299-31-09AW - Credit: Archant

Time is running out to replace behind-the-scenes stalwart crucial to the running of the charity

John Fowler

John Fowler - Credit: Archant

SIDMOUTH Lifeboat is in need of rescue as leaders fear it will have to close if a vital behind-the-scenes role is not filled.

Philip Churchill

Philip Churchill - Credit: Archant

Bosses of the independent and volunteer-run cause have searched for a successor to their secretary for nine months without success – and say time is running out.

The current incumbent, Philip Churchill, is retiring in March after 11 years of dedicated work in which he has run the charity’s finances and administration.

Chairman John Fowler says the service – which costs £80,000 a year to run and is reliant on community generosity – faces having to pay accountants, but would struggle to do so.

“Without somebody in Philip’s position, the lifeboat would have to close,” said Mr Fowler.

“We’re going to be in a big muddle if we can’t replace him - and no organisation or business can run with its finances in a muddle.

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“It’s a totally behind-the-scenes job that is totally vital to an organisation that has tremendous community value.

“We like to think we are now, and have been for many years, a very vital part of the coastguard lifesaving facility and this part of the world would be poorer if we weren’t here. We want to thank Philip for everything he has done – and let the world know we need his replacement.

“We have been trying for nine months now. We have approached friends and acquaintances, but haven’t found anybody that wants to take it on.”

Mr Fowler paid tribute to ‘fastidious, thorough and 100 per cent reliable’ Philip Churchill.

“He has done the most fabulous job,” he said. “Whatever happens, we’re going to miss him. He’s been doing two jobs and we could easily split them if one person didn’t want to do it all.

“Philip hasn’t received a penny. If we cannot get anyone, we would have to pay accountants. It costs us somewhere between £60,000 and £80,000 a year to run the lifeboat.

“You can’t make a case for paying someone to do it.”

It is hoped someone can be found by April so they can learn the system Mr Churchill has put in place.

? Anyone interested in the role can contact Mr Fowler on 01404 871389 or Mr Churchill on 01395 514071. The lifeboat station is also open every day.