Independent Sidmouth Lifeboat is ‘essential’

VISITORS and residents of Sidmouth have declared the town’s independently funded lifeboat as essential.

Crew members last Monday rescued celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall off the coast of Beer among a raft of shouts in the busy summer season.

Gemma Clapp went out and spoke to the public on Sidmouth seafront, asking their views on the lifeboat service.

Local Christine Marshall, 66, felt it is essential for the town to have a lifeboat to prevent prolonging a critical situation should someone need its assistance.

“The sea is dangerous so we need someone on site to get there quickly if someone needs help,” said the Bickwell Valley resident.

Visitor Michael Rushtoe agreed, saying a lifeboat is invaluable to any coastal town.

“It only takes one person to get into trouble for it to be worthwhile,” said the 61-year-old, who lives in the Midlands.

Most Read

Mrs J Airey, 83, who was also visiting the town, reiterated Christine and Michael’s points.

“It saves people’s lives, so it’s valuable,” said Welsh Mrs Airey.

Forty-three year-old Caroline Lowther, who was holidaying here with her young family, felt that the lifeboat was just as valuable as any other emergency service, adding: “People need rescuing.”

Josh Simmons, 17, from Exmouth questioned how the town would cope without the lifeboat.

“What would struggling swimmers or boats do without it?” asked Josh, who is a regular visitor to Sidmouth.

But lifeboat support worker Jerry Allen, 50, from Cheltenham was surprisingly unsure of how the lifeboat would benefit the town itself.

“It won’t draw people into the town. People won’t come here purely because there is a lifeboat. But it saves people’s lives, so it’s important,” he said.