Felixstowe: Volunteer Coast Patrol Service could be left high and dry this summer unless
07:00 04 January 2014
Unless a major backer comes forward, a resort patrol and rescue service says it will not be able to operate this summer.
Members of Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service were lucky to escape with their lives after being involved in a road accident which wrecked their lifeboat and caused £100,000 worth of damage to kit.
The crews had been taking their lifeboat from Felixstowe to Saxmundham ready to help with the floods rescue operation in north Suffolk following the sea surge last month.
Rescue service chairman John Cresswell said the insurance money for the damaged equipment would not cover the cost of replacing everything the service would need for its operations.
He said: “Unless we get a major benefactor very soon, we will not be out on the water this summer.
“If anyone is out there looking for a major sponsorship project then we would love to hear from them – it’s an ideal opportunity for someone to come forward and be our saviour.”
The crew was travelling along the A12 at Foxhall in a convoy of three 4x4 vehicles towing three boats when the vehicles were caught in a cross-wind. One of the vehicles and a boat was in collision with an overtaking vehicle and hit the central reservation crash barrier.
One vehicle cartwheeled over on to its right side before being pulled upright by the jack-knifing trailer and boat.
The trailer broke free and continued on for some 60metres before dumping the fully-equipped lifeboat, which also cartwheeled, on to the carriageway.
Mr Cresswell said: “It’s a real shame because we were really looking forward to next season. Year after year we struggle to get enough money together for fuel and to keep the equipment up-to-date, and this year all that was in place.”
He said it was “17 years of hard slog and public money down the drain”.
Last summer the service saw a 120% rise in the number of people it helped, its second busiest ever season.
Anyone able to help the service should get in touch with John Cresswell on 01394 270929.