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SOS call for fundraising in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 10:29 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:07 06 July 2010

IT has been a busy time for the crew of the crew of Lowestoft Lifeboat with the highest number of calls in six years, and nationally the RNLI exceeded over 9,000 launches in a year for the first time.

IT has been a busy time for the crew of the crew of Lowestoft Lifeboat with the highest number of calls in six years, and nationally the RNLI exceeded over 9,000 launches in a year for the first time.

The latest figures show 32 launches from Lowestoft compared to 31 in 2008 with 55 persons being helped.

Reflecting on the local figures, Captain Richard Musgrove, the Lowestoft Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “This year has been a very busy year for Lowestoft's volunteer crew and the lifeboat. They have launched to help people or vessels in trouble on 32 separate occasions.

“As well as this they have spent many hours at sea training to hone their skills. It costs over £1,200 a year to train each crew member to the highest possible standard.”

There have been two particularly notable rescues in the past 12 months.

In November three crew were saved, in very difficult conditions, when an oil industry rescue craft stranded on a jetty at Ness Point, in a south-easterly gale.

In June a man clinging onto to the end of the South Pier at the harbour entrance was saved. He was being hit by a swell driven by north easterly winds and was badly cut and bruised.

Coxswain John Fox skilfully manoeuvred the lifeboat to avoid crushing the man against the pierhead.

“Earlier in the year our all weather Tyne lifeboat returned from a major refit which cost in the region of £200,000. Some people do not realise we are a charity and not government run or funded. The charity is reliant on public donations.

“We received a big boost during the year when Scottish and Southern Energy announced a partnership that will secure £300,000 of funding for crew training at the lifeboat stations at Lowestoft, Southwold. Aldeburgh and Harwich over the next three years.

“I would particularly like to thank the employers who release our volunteer crew when there is a call, the fundraisers, donors and other supporters without whom we could not go to sea to save so many lives,” said Mr Musgrove.

It was also a busy year for the lifeboat crews at Southwold with 15 launches and 14 people being helped.

Lowestoft Lifeboat Service Statistics for 2009

Type Number

Fishing Vessels 4

Motor Cruiser 6

Sailing Yachts 11

Persons 5

Medical 3

Kiteboard 1

Jet Ski 1

Commercial Shipping 1

Total 32

Today (Friday) is the RNLI's SOS Day and people can visit the lifeboat station on the South Pier, Lowestoft, between 10am and 2pm to meet some of the crew, see local photographs and a short DVD whilst enjoying light refreshments. It is hoped an SOS will be completed in coins.

The RNLI, a charity independent of the Government and reliant on public donations, is calling on the public to respond to its own SOS call for help by raising money for the organisation.

RNLI Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, said: “I hope the way our volunteer crews and lifeguards help the public during times of personal or community crisis motivates them to get involved in SOS fundraising events.”

SOS - Save our Souls - is a long used distress call and part of the history of Lowestoft Lifeboat Station. Early records show the first lifeboat at Lowestoft in 1801 with the RNLI establishing a lifeboat station in the town in 1855.

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