Despite a wet and windy bank holiday Saturday, over 400 visitors came through the big wooden doors at Exmouth RNLI boathouse on 25 August. Crew volunteers gave up their holiday time to give informative talks and tours around the charity’s lifeboats. Volunteers from the fundraising guild ran stalls which raised over £850 for the station.
Visitors were shown aboard both the all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Margaret Jean and the B class inshore lifeboat George Bearman which was moved onto the ramp for the event. Members of the RNLI sea-safety team were available to talk to throughout the day, bringing along their road-show lifeboat Evelyn M.
This year saw a large number of young families visiting during the bank holiday and there was plenty for children to do: three lifeboats to climb on, dress up in crew kit and a chance to ‘launch the lifeboat’ Together with stalls, cakes, teas and coffees available, there was something for everyone. Margaret Griffin from Exmouth guessed the weight of the decorated boiled fruit cake, it was 10lb 11¼oz.
Due to the large number of visitors arriving in the afternoon, some dedicated volunteers were still showing people around the boats and station an hour after the event was due to close. The boathouse finally closed its doors at 5pm, raising £857.31 in the seven hours. The RNLI shop also benefitted from the extra visitors and had a very successful day.
The Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton RNLI fundraising guild and their team of committed volunteers spent 11 months planning the event and now look forward to planning and hosting the 2013 open day. Chairman of the guild, Don Hodgkinson said:
‘We were very pleased to have so many visitors visit our lifeboats and eco-friendly boathouse. I’m very grateful to the crew volunteers who took time out of their bank holiday to show people around.’