Sidmouth Lifeboat to celebrate 50th anniversary with masquerade ball

PUBLISHED: 12:10 31 October 2017

Modern-day members of Sidmouth Lifeboat at its first ever ball at the Victoria Hotel last year

Modern-day members of Sidmouth Lifeboat at its first ever ball at the Victoria Hotel last year

Archant

Sidmouth Lifeboat is celebrating half a century of saving lives at sea with a masquerade ball, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.

Ref shs RNLI 09 Guy Bennett & Cameron Baker.Ref shs RNLI 09 Guy Bennett & Cameron Baker.

Tickets have already sold out for the January 5 soiree, when volunteers, their families and supporters will don masks and enjoy a meal and casino tables at the Victoria Hotel.

Last year’s ball netted more than £1,500 and organiser Lisa-Marie Cooke, who is also on the boat crew, hopes businesses are inspired to support the charity once again.

She said: “This is a really special year for the lifeboat – since 1968, when the organisation was founded, it has been providing a near continuous life-saving service to the community.

“We wanted to make it a special and memorable event to recognise the organisation’s achievements over the last 50 years.

Members of the Sidmouth Inshore Rescue Service shortly after it formed. Al Philips (right of the lifeboat) is still active in the organisationMembers of the Sidmouth Inshore Rescue Service shortly after it formed. Al Philips (right of the lifeboat) is still active in the organisation

“Last year we were indebted to the generosity of Sidmouth businesses who helped us raise more than £1,500 through some fantastic raffle prizes.

“For this event, we want to make a really big thing of engaging with local businesses to help us make the masquerade ball a great success for the charity.”

Sidmouth was home to an RNLI station during the town’s Victorian heyday but with activity declining, the organisation decided in 1912 to withdraw the service.

In the 1960s, leisure pursuits were on the rise once again and Sidmouth’s beaches grew busier, resulting in the formation of the surf lifesaving organisation – which would become Sidmouth Inshore Rescue Service and then Sidmouth Lifeboat.

Sidmouth's old RNLI crewSidmouth's old RNLI crew

The first HQ was at the clock tower in Connaught Gardens, and the crews gradually gained new boats and equipment until by 1982 they were available 24-seven.

The addition in 1999 of a new lifeboat necessitated the construction of a new station on The Esplanade and the creation of a new launching trailer, pulled by a ballasted tractor.

A rough estimate suggests the independent crews have been called out 1,000 times over their 50-year history.

To donate a raffle prize, email info@sidmouthlifeboat.org.uk

Sidmouth Lifeboat is currently recruiting trainee crew with availability in the working day.

Visit sidmouthlifeboat.org.uk to learn more about the charity, including how to volunteer.

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