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Lifeboat open day interrupted as crew rescues 22 people and a dog in just two hours

PUBLISHED: 15:19 21 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:40 21 August 2017

Wells Inshore Lifeboat launching during the open day. Picture: Wells Lifeboat

Wells Inshore Lifeboat launching during the open day. Picture: Wells Lifeboat

Archant

An open day at the Wells lifeboat station was interrupted when the crew had to head out to six separate incidents, rescuing a total of 22 people and a dog.

Over 400 people came out to the Wells lifeboat station open day. Picture: Wells LifeboatOver 400 people came out to the Wells lifeboat station open day. Picture: Wells Lifeboat

Around 400 people visited the station on Sunday to meet the crew and see the boats but just over two hours into the event, team members spotted some beachgoers who were in danger.

“High tide was 6.30pm on Sunday but it started coming in four or five hours before that,” said Peter Rainsford, chairman of Wells Lifeboat.

“The first launch at around 2.30pm was on our own account because we could see the tide coming in behind a group of people and it wouldn’t end well.

“Then on the way back we got a call about an incident at Brancaster near the golf club where we helped more people there. There was then yet another call at Titchwell.

“On returning to Wells more people were observed to be cut-off by the tide. By the time the inshore lifeboat made it back to the boathouse, two hours later, we had assisted 22 people and one dog.”

Despite the interruption Mr Rainsford said that the call outs didn’t detract from the day and 200 people were given a guided tour of the all-weather Mersey class lifeboat.

The lifeboat is set to be replaced by a new Shannon class lifeboat, once the crew has raised the £2m they need to purchase it. The new boat will also require a new boathouse as it is too large for the existing premises.

The total cost of the lifeboat, launch and recovery equipment, and the boathouse, is expected to be around £5.5m and money will be raised through corporate donations, legacies and the generosity of the public.

Coxswain Allen Frary said the open day was really successful and thanked the public for supporting the work that the volunteer crew at Wells do.

He said: “It was a pity that the launch and recovery demonstrations with the ILB (inshore lifeboat) had to be cancelled but we are an operational station and that became very clear to everyone when the boat had to launch for real.”

On September 2 the lifeboat team will host a concert by the Lewisham Symphonic Concert Band at St Nicholas Church. Tickets are £10 each and available in advance from Wells Tourist Office or they can be reserved by phoning 01328 710899. Tickets will also be available on the door.

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