As the Red Arrows screamed overhead Weston-Super-Mare RNLI Volunteers launch to look for a missing child.

The Red Arrows overhead

D Class launch from Knightstone duirng Air Show

During Weston Air Day the RNLI crew stayed on standby for any emergencies. In the week-end they launched three times from their temporary station. While on one shout the Red Arrows performed directly above them.

On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd the Air Show was held on Weston-super-Mare beach and Beach Lawns. As well as numerous flying displays there were many static displays including a stand by the Weston-super-Mare RNLI fundraisers raising money for a new lifeboat station, so desperately needed.. While all of this was going on the volunteer RNLI crew stayed on standby at their temporary station at Knightstone harbour. The weather was fine with blue skies and glorious sun.


The first call of the week-end came at in the afternoon of Saturday when a child was reported missing on the tideline. The relief D Class lifeboat D696 launched within minutes of the call and raced to the Grand Pier area and commenced searching along the foreshore. As the lifeboat was launching the Red Arrows RAF display started. The crew at first were concentrating on the search but all ducked as the “synchro pair” of RAF jets passed each other close over their heads. The child was found by coastguard after an hour and a half and after confirmation of identity by the parents Swansea Coastguard confirmed the crew could stand down.


It was a tiring day waiting in the heat so the volunteer crew were glad to get away in the evening and many had an early night. This was just as well because at 0100, when all were asleep, the pagers sounded off again. A man had been seen going into the sea on the south side of Brean Down, the large promontory at the south of Weston Bay. Once again the crew launched in the darkness and sped to the end of Brean Down and rounded into Berrow Bay to search for the man who was thought to be in a distressed state. Just as the lifeboat reached the search area the man was found by the police and so the crew were able to return to base.


The next day the Air Show was in full flow when, just after 2 o’clock, two swimmers in the area outside the Marine Lake were seen waving and shouting asking for help. They were in an area of sea prone to strong tides so the lifeboat was launched again. However when they reached the suspected casualties it was found that they were not in distress but thought it was funny shouting for help. The lifeboat crew gave them a strong dressing down and then returned to base to watch the end of the Air Show.


Charlotte Conroy, Lifeboat Operations Manager of Weston-super-Mare said; ‘It shows the dedication of the Weston-super-Mare crew that they were willing to give up their whole week-end to support the Air Show and protect the visitors. We do not mind if potential casualties are saved before we get there. We would rather go and not be needed than not be there when we are. The swimmers were idiots. Calling us out could have meant that we may not have been able to respond to another, real, emergency. I am very proud of my crew and thank them for all the hard work they do to support the RNLI and save lives at sea.’