£1,240 donation funds new marquee for club’s competition season

Sidmouth Surf Livesaving Club show off their new marquee which was purchased with a donation from th

Sidmouth Surf Livesaving Club show off their new marquee which was purchased with a donation from the Keith Owen Fund. Picture: Sidmouth Surf Livesaving Club - Credit: Archant

A new marquee sheltering young athletes during competitions has been funded through a generous donation from the Keith Owen Fund.

Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club will use the inflatable and lightweight piece of kit as its members compete in local, regional and national events around the South West.

Dave Manley, head coach and chairman of the club, said many of the competitions are in exposed beach locations and competitors and coaches need shelter from the sun. The piece of kit is also needed to be light and easy to assemble and transport.

The Keith Owen Fund, a bequest left by the late businessman to the Sid Valley, is distributed by the Sid Vale Association. The SVA agreed to match fund the project after the club raised £1,240 towards the marquee.

Mr Manley said: "Keith Owen has again helped us to support our young competitors. The expensive marquee could have never been purchased using our limited funds from annual membership fees, which we aim to keep low to encourage participation. It will provide a fantastic facility at events providing protection for our athletes and helping ensure they compete to their best ability - representing the club and the town."

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The club has started its 2019 season with 130 members. Competitors can join the club from as young as eight.

Coaches are hoping to build on last year's impressive set of results. In 2018, the youth and nipper teams finished third in the regional championships, the youth team placed in the top 10 at the British championships and the club's boy team finished fifth.

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Mr Manley said Sidmouth is the only Devon based south coast club that has provided members for both the Devon and England Youth Surf Lifesaving Teams.

Nick Keast, on behalf of the Keith Owen Fund, said: "It is amazing to see so many juniors practicing out on the water and who are becoming quite a feature of the seafront on Saturday mornings. Knowing the sort of inclement weather that normally happens during the summer months the marquee will be an invaluable asset not only at the club's training but at the county and national championships at which the club has established itself as a major contender."

To apply for a grant visit www.sidvaleassociation.org.uk for more information.

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