Sidmouth ‘Tour’ crowds enjoy lifeboat rescue display

Portland coastguard helicopter ‘rescues’ three crew from Sidmouth Lifeboat during Tour of Britain

SPECTATORS of the first Tour of Britain cycle race through Sidmouth on Tuesday were treated to an extra event they were not expecting.

Crew from Sidmouth Lifeboat laid on their monthly training exercise with the Portland Coastguard helicopter off the seafront, organised by operations manager Andy Downham.

Lifeboat duty launch authority Alan Phillips said: “We normally hold our monthly training at the weekend, but decided that, as lots of people were watching in anticipation of the bike ride, we would have a slot on the same day.”

Lifeboat coxswain Mark Roden manned the boat with crew members Alex Goodall, Naomi Firth and Phil Marish after it was driven to Clifton beach by tractor driver Dennis Hutchings.

While Mark remained at the helm, the three crew took it in turns to be winched into the helicopter.

Alan said: “It is good training for the helicopter crew and for our crew as well.”

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He thought people were impressed by the rescue display and said afterwards crew were there to answer questions from the public about how the independent lifeboat operates.

The Pride of Sidmouth was kept at Clifton Beach during the Tour of Britain event to ensure it was available for launch in case of an emergency.