PR250814-1 Crowds flock to watch the Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn launch to attend Dawlish Air Show
PR250814-2 (Left to right) Stefan, Spike and Oscar gaze at the Shannon class lifeboat whilst sitting on inshore lifeboat George Bearman at the Open Day
PR250814-3 It was the first time the public were invited aboard Exmouth RNLI’s state of the art lifeboat
Photos: (Credit Exmouth RNLI)
During 23 and 24 August, the station’s proud volunteers opened the doors to their boathouse to welcome supporters visiting their Open Day Weekend. The total raised was over £1,500 with the charity’s shop performance hitting an all-time record.
Dedicated volunteers started setting up at 8am for the event which was due to open at 10am. Members of the Exmouth Lifeboat Fundraising Team organised various stalls and spoke to visitors about their roles in the charity. Coastal Safety volunteers were on hand to advise on lifejackets and other safety equipment, according to individual needs. RNLI Lifeguards were available to speak about beach safety and the Face2Face team were also present to discuss charity membership to help save lives at sea.
This was the first chance for the public to see aboard Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn. Crew and lifeboat operations volunteers committed their Bank Holiday weekend to give tours of the new state-of-the-art, water-jet powered lifeboat. Other Crew volunteers took part in demonstrations with RNLI Lifeguards and Exmouth Gig Rowing Club in front of the lifeboat station. The Gig Club organised a rowing competition and local business, Krispies Hog Roasts had a stall on both days, both boosting funds by donation.
At 3.30pm on the Saturday, visitors were treated to the spectacle of the Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn launching from the beach to attend the annual Dawlish Air Show. During the scheduled exercise with Teignmouth RNLI Atlantic 85 class The Two Annes, Exmouth RNLI Crew volunteer James Searle was winched up to a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter. After this event, the volunteers then proceeded eastwards to the Sidmouth Regatta to demonstrate the agility of R and J Welburn to crowds before returning to the station at 8.30pm.
The Open Day weekend continued on the Sunday with a similar format. Some committed volunteers were on duty all weekend, through rain and shine.
Chair of the Exmouth Lifeboat Fundraising Team, Don Hodgkinson was awarded a silver badge for his dedication to the team during the event and described the event as a huge success;
‘It was the first time we’d invited supporters aboard our Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn and our volunteers have generated a huge amount of interest in saving lives at sea in Lyme Bay. Our Open Day Weekend has been hugely successful and we’d like to thank everybody for their generous support.’
Shop volunteers generated the highest amount of takings in a single day on Saturday 23 August and almost repeated the figure on Sunday 24 August.