Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Daring abseilers brave dizzying lighthouse heights

09:00 15 August 2011

Actor Bernard Hill ready for the RNLI abseil down Southwold Lighthouse. Photo: Richard Lycett

Actor Bernard Hill ready for the RNLI abseil down Southwold Lighthouse. Photo: Richard Lycett

BRAVE fundraisers rappelled down the face of Southwold’s 31 metre lighthouse in aid of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards.

shares

The sponsored abseil saw dozens of courageous souls patiently waiting their turn to descend the landmark tower yesterday.

Each donated a £25 registration fee and at least £100 in sponsorship for the RNLI, and anyone who didn’t fancy the dizzying drop could enjoy the lifeboat demonstrations, balloon races and sandcastle competitions taking place on the seafront the day before.

Among those who took part in the abseil was locally-based stage and screen actor Bernard Hill, who played Yosser Hughes in The Boys from the Blackstuff. A member of Southwold Sailing Club, his nautical connections also extend to his portrayal of Captain Edward John Smith in Titanic.

Abseilers had to first scale the 92-step circular staircase to the top of the lighthouse, before taking a bold step over the edge of the historic 122-year-old lighthouse which is usually used to guide vessels navigating the coast and approaching Southwold Harbour.

By mid-afternoon the fundraising total had already reached £15,000, boosting the hopes that the event would equal the £24,000 raised by the first lighthouse abseil two years ago.

An intrepid 96 abseilers signed up to take part this year - 16 more than in 2009 - and, despite eight cancellations, the vacant spots were offered up for a £75 donation.

Lifeboat operations manager John Huggins, who came up with the idea for the abseil two years ago, was the first to take the plunge on Sunday. He said: “It all went really well and we hope to achieve our fundraising target.” Mr Huggins added that the station was well up to speed with volunteer recruitment and even had one or two names waiting to step in when required.

A lifeboat was first stationed in Southwold in 1841. Today, there is 18-strong volunteer crew with members from all walks of life - including a businessman, a student, a boat builder, an airline pilot, a taxi driver and a teacher.

It promises to be a busy month for the Southwold team, who are preparing to move along shore for exercises and training while work is carried out to strengthen the north dock wall.

Last month, Southwold’s own relief lifeboat, Duckhams 2001, was called upon just two days after temporarily standing in for Leslie Tranmer, which is in Cowes for a refit and is expected to return in a couple of months.

Duckhams 2001 joined the Tyne Class Spirit of Lowestoft and local fishing boats to demonstrate how the RNLI saves lives at sea during the charity’s annual Lifeboat Day on Saturday.

The RNLI is independent from the government and relies on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income.

The crew’s kit for the Southwold Station alone costs about £1,000 per person.

shares

0 comments

Ed Hawkins has been training celebrities for the new TV show 'Flock Stars'. Ed is pictured in Chelsworth.

He’s used to the challenges of a life outdoors – braving rain, wind and even snow to look after his sheep in bucolic rural Suffolk.

Figures presented in an operational performance report for the county show that the equivalent of 31 12-hour shifts were spent by ambulance staff treating patients who could not be admitted to A&E within 15-minutes of arrival.

A pig and four chickens have been stolen from a field in Sudbury.

Curve Motion in Bury St Edmunds is a good day out for the kids.

Sadly, rainy days are not a rare thing when it comes to the Great British Summer, so when the heavens open we are well-stocked with things to do.

Carl Robbins

The search for a prisoner who absconded from Hollesley Bay earlier this month is still ongoing.

A stack of straw bales was deliberately set alight in Little Wratting on Monday night.

Don't believe the message that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable

There’s something about Jez (as we hip young things on social media call Jeremy Corbyn) that thoroughly warms my cockles. Perhaps it’s his air of humility, his open-necked honesty or simply his dogged under-dogness?

Dogs line up for judging at the Suffolk and Essex Small Animal Welfare Fun Dog Show.

More than 300 people turned out to support a local animal charity at its annual open day – despite the inclement weather.

Work on assessing the roof at St John the Baptist Church in Needham Market is underway. Ray Levett (PCC member) is pictured whilst Terry Kent (Valiant) and Glen Westley (Maldon Ltd pest control) are looking at the roof.

The first stage of a £250,000 project to repair a Suffolk town’s church roof is under way.

Cllr Robert Everitt, presenting the laptops to Phoenix Rising during one of its sessions at the Info Bar in Bury.

Around 100 vulnerable adults from across Suffolk, including at centres in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, are to gain free educational support thanks to a council’s donation of old laptops.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages