Sidmouth youngsters trial Rotary club’s sea safety project

Sally Wilcox, who is leading the Rotary International exchange to South Korea

Sally Wilcox, who is leading the Rotary International exchange to South Korea - Credit: Archant

Sid Valley Rotary Club has teamed up with Sidmouth Lifeboat to keep the town’s youngsters safe in the water.

Sidmouth Lifeboat

Sidmouth Lifeboat - Credit: Archant

Fifteen year five pupils from Sidmouth Primary School are participating in a trial of a project that will feature swimming lessons, safety talks and beach-based activities.

Past club president Sally Wilcox came up with the idea after hearing stories of young people getting into perilous situations because of their lack of understanding of the potential dangers.

She said: “Most young people will be able to swim by the time they get to secondary school but a few slip through the net each year.

“This project, if the trial proves to be of value to the community, will help young people from the Sid Valley area understand the potential dangers and have the skills and knowledge to make themselves safe if they are unlucky enough to find themselves in difficulties.

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“This local initiative is given more emphasis by the recent announcement that, nationally, one in three children leave primary school without being able to swim with many more than this unable to get themselves out of danger in the water. ”

Sally announced the project as she handed the reins of the Sid Valley Rotary Club to Malcolm Watkins.

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The club will be working with Sidmouth Lifeboat, Sidmouth Swimming Pool, Sid Vale Sharks, Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club and any other organisations that would like to get involved.

The rotary club organised a dinner with Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter earlier in the year that raised nearly £10,000, of which £1,800 was set aside for this initiative. The balance was shared between Sidmouth Lifeboat and the RNLI.

An additional grant means the club has more than £2,500 to get the Sid Valley Sea Safe project afloat.

Sidmouth Lifeboat senior coxswain Guy Russell said: “It was an absolute honour to work with the local youngsters and help them gain a better understanding and respect for the sea.

“As a lifelong surfer, lifeguard and now coxswain of the lifeboat, sea safety is in my blood.

“A huge thank you to Sally and the Sid Valley Rotary Club for making this possible.”

To get involved, call 01395 542544 or email

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