Sidmouth Lifeboat stalwarts seek volunteer help from 'youngsters'

PUBLISHED: 16:45 05 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:34 18 June 2010

SIDMOUTH Lifeboat stalwarts, one of whom is nearly 100-years-old, have issued a plea for youngsters to give them a helping hand raising vital funds for the valued service.

SIDMOUTH Lifeboat stalwarts, one of whom is nearly 100-years-old, have issued a plea for "youngsters" to give them a helping hand raising vital funds for the valued service.

Dedicated support staff volunteers Noel Barwick, Freddy Wedderburn, and Alan Charlton, who have a combined age of nearly 91, want newly retired residents, or "kids" as the plucky trio call them, to consider giving up a few hours a week to ensure the town's lifeboat station can stay open every day of the year and keep the independent service afloat financially.

Alan, who is the lifeboat's oldest volunteer at 98, Freddy, 85, and Noel, 89, are among 15 staff who give up their own time to man the Esplanade station and support its lifeboat crew.

Their sterling work brings in vital cash, last year raising £30,000, by keeping the station open 364 days a year. It only closes on Christmas Day.

However, the support team needs new recruits and newly retired residents are seen as ideal candidates.

"It is a struggle to keep it open every day, people are having to work double shifts." said support team leader Noel.

"We need at least two new recruits, there is nobody on our list at all at the moment.

Recently retired people are ideal, it's not a big commitment, anybody who has an odd three hours a week to spare could help us.

"We answer questions from people about the crew and boat house, try and improve our image and raise money."

Lifeboat trustee Freddy sees the volunteers' work as crucial. He said: "Ten years ago when I joined the lifeboat we had very little funds and were helped very rarely by the public. In that time we have managed to buy a new life boat, trailer, two new tractors and extension to the boathouse with a lot of thanks to the community of Sidmouth and visitors here. We have managed to raise our profile and residents and visitors have done tremendously well for us."

Anybody interested in helping can contact Noel Barwick on (01395) 519471.


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