Retiring Rotary president James Jellard had been born and raised in Salcombe. The lifeboat had been part of his growing up and was a subject very close to his heart. He was also very aware of the heroic actions performed by this and other lifeboat stations around the coast of the West Country and in his own words ‘wanted to give something back’.
The Rotarians were welcomed by lifeboat coxswain Chris Winzar, director of operations Andrew Arthur and lifeboat mechanic Sam Viles.
This year is the 150th anniversary of Salcombe Lifeboat Station. The station is operated by a team of 34 local men and women, 21 sea going, 12 shore-based and one lifeboat medical adviser.
The station has two boats, a 25 knot Tamar Class all weather lifeboat The Baltic Exchange III and a 35 knot B Class inshore lifeboat. With these boats the volunteer crew are able to meet their mission target which is to reach any casualty in all weathers within ten miles of the station within 30 minutes of receiving an initial request from the coastguard. Since January 1 to the time of the Rotary visit the station had responded to 42 emergency call-outs.
Later in the month Rotarians visited Minehead Lifeboat Station where a cheque for £500 was presented to lifeboat operations manager John Higgie. The donation will be added to the station’s appeal to build a new station building. The station was built in 1901 and is no longer suitable to meet the requirements of a 21st Century lifeboat station.
Minehead has two lifeboats, a 35 knot Atlantic 85 rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, Richard & Elizabeth Deaves, and the smaller 25 knot D Class Christine, which is invaluable when working close inshore.
The two lifeboat stations feature in the current BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.