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Lifeboats send out SOS after busy spell

PUBLISHED: 15:35 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:31 05 July 2010

DEMAND for East Anglia's RNLI lifeboats remained high in the first half of this year despite the poor weather, the charity reported this week.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution says that the region's lifeboat stations were busier than ever between January and June, with 249 launches compared with 243 for the first half of 2007.

DEMAND for East Anglia's RNLI lifeboats remained high in the first half of this year despite the poor weather, the charity reported this week.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution says that the region's lifeboat stations were busier than ever between January and June, with 249 launches compared with 243 for the first half of 2007.

Call-outs to people who needed rescuing from sandbanks, rocks or islands, or after getting stuck on the shoreline, increased from two in the first six months of 2007 to 36 for the same period this year.

Lifeboat launches to help people in trouble in the sea rose from 17 between January and June last year to 29 this year.

Of the 16 stations in East Anglia, eight saw an increase in the number of launches, including Southwold, Yarmouth & Gorleston, Cromer and Sheringham.

Yarmouth & Gorleston, Southend, Harwich and West Mersea continue to be the busiest four stations in the region.

RNLI east divisional inspector Andrew Ashton said: “The high level of rescues seems to show a growing national trend where more and more people are using the sea for leisure purposes.”

As the RNLI is totally dependent on donations, a national day of fundraising - to be called SOS Day - is being held on January 30 next year to boost the coffers.

It will feature a series of activities and will involve stations around the coast and towns across the region.

Mr Ashton said: “This will support our crews, who trade comfort and sleep to go the aid of others in distress.

“I am asking everyone to get involved and help us make this our biggest day ever.

“While fundraisers around the UK and Ireland are encouraged to use the SOS acronym to generate creative fundraising ideas, this year, our over-arching theme is Sound Or Silence. We're particularly encouraging people to come up with fun and exciting ways that they can fundraise for the RNLI along this theme; perhaps they would like to take part in a sponsored silence, to host a disco for friends and family or maybe a sea shanty singalong?”

The RNLI operates more than 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 life-guard units on UK beaches.

To find out more about the RNLI's 2009 SOS Day and obtain a free fundraising pack, call 0845 121 4999. For more information and ideas visit the charity's website at www.rnli.org.uk

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