Meanwhile, Back on Dry Land, Supporting SRUK

The summer’s not just been a busy time for PLIRB volunteers as a whole – for long-serving PLIRB member Jo Barry this summer’s been all about meeting an individual challenge too. 

Across the summer Jo’s been a key player in all of the PLIRB’s own community efforts – both in offering community support as events and in being an active part of the organisation and on-the-day presence at our community fundraising events. In between, she’s also been actively out on the boat in response to a recent Shout, as shown in the photos below …

As well as all of her PLIRB work and the day job, Jo’s been in serious training for the #ThamesBridgeChallenge which took place on Saturday 7th September.

As part of the challenge, Jo and her team of ‘Mat’s Babes’ walked the 25km route across London, and crossing 16 of the capital’s bridges. In doing so, Jo’s been raising money for Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK – the only UK charity supporting individuals with Scleroderma and Reynauds.

Jo’s been actively supporting this charity for many years, and you can read why on her Just Giving page.

As the photo shows, Jo and the team were determined to make a success of the day and they certainly have! Her page has so far raised over £600 and is still actively taking donations, so if you’d like to take a look and perhaps donate, it would be very welcome and well received.

Jo does so much to support the efforts of the PLIRB and it’s great to be able to share her own efforts to support a cause close to her heart and we wish Jo every success in her fundraising efforts for SRUK. If anyone else would like to additionally support us to support her by sharing her Just Giving page, that would be much appreciated, thank you.

Bank Holiday Weekend – Shout on Sunday

Sunday 25th August started with our usual training and maintenance session down at the boathouse. During the morning, the beaches continued to fill up with holiday makers, visitors and locals, so at the end of the session, crew member Shaun stayed on at the boathouse “on call” because it just felt like one of those days …

And so when the request for us to launch was given at around 14:30, Shaun was already in place. From there, it was a matter of minutes before enough crew were present to launch, in response to concerns about two children on an inflatable, reported to be drifting out to open sea.

At 14:32, a three-person crew of Steve, Shaun and Jo launched an headed off to the location given by the coastguards. After a time spent searching the area without success, reports came through that the children had been towed back to shore by a watchful kayaker.

During their lookout for the inflatable, the crew recognised how busy the beaches were, as well as the offshore coastline which was extremely buoyant with inflatables, families and swimmers. So, once Solent stood us down from the original call out, the team dropped off one team member, then set off for a patrol along the coastline.

Patrolling for safety purposes is something which the crews regularly do at this stage of the tide, particularly along the Cliff End where holiday makers are often caught out by the tide and stranded on the rocks. Happily on this occasion, there was nothing of any concern and no further launch requests from Solent.

By this time, the tide had also come in sufficiently to make recovery of our boat much easier in the context of the beach being so busy with visitors. By 16:00 all crew had returned safety to shore and the latest update we had from Solent was that the children were safely ashore too.

Then it was a matter of cleaning and refuelling the boat, ready in case Bank Holiday Monday proves just as busy. Our volunteers are happy to give up their time to protect the public as much as possible, so before everyone finally left for the day, a plan was put into place for crew members to also be down at the boathouse on Monday at around the time of the incoming tide (from 5 p.m.), just in case.

Don’t forget, if you are enjoying the beach on these lovely sunny days, please be aware of how easily a fun item such as an inflatable can become a real hazard for your children, and be mindful of tides, currents and submerged hazards at our beautiful local beaches.

Remember, if you see someone in trouble at sea, on the beach coastline or on the cliff top, please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Support from the Community – Coop, Winchelsea Beach

On one of the busiest weekends of the year, we are delighted to have been invited to the Coop, Winchelsea Beach store. 

The August Bank Holiday is a busy weekend all around, but especially for a retailer whose store is right next door to a much-loved caravan holiday site. So we feel very fortunate indeed to have been able to go along to the store on Saturday 24th August, for a few hours of raising awareness about our work, about beach safety,  and also to promote some of our merchandise and do a little fundraising in our local community. 

This is all part of the continued support we’ve had from the Winchelsea Beach community and from the local Coop. Coop’s Winchelsea Beach store has the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat as one of its chosen community causes, raising extra funds for us by converting customers’ loyalty points to cash: this has raised a massive £1165 for us over the years.

If you’d like to know more about this, please check out this page.

Being along there with our smaller Tornado boat on this very busy Saturday at the height of the beach season meant we enjoyed plenty of interest from shoppers and donations.

As well as our own stall and collection point at the store entrance, staff also placed a donation bucket by the tills in-store, so that customers could donate their change after shopping, if they wanted to.

And as well as looking after us inside the store, the store manager took care of us  in the heat of the day outside, with lovely bottles of cold water from the fridge to keep us safely hydrated and comfortable – thanks so much, Mark!

And how did we do? Between the donations received and sales of our merchandise, we raised almost £440 which will be safely banked towards our ongoing running costs.

In all, we had a brilliant time and were so well looked after. Thank you so much once again to Coop, the manager and staff at Coop, Winchelsea Beach and to all the shop’s customers who came to chat to us and support us through donations or by buying our merchandise. All support is much appreciated and without such generosity, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. 

** Of course, although some of our volunteers were along at the Coop store with the smaller inshore rescue boat, we were also very mindful of the busy beaches and potential for a ‘shout.’ Rest assured, our larger Pulfer boat was along at the boathouse, with additional teams available in the event of us being needed. **

Support from the Community – Asda St. Leonards

August has continued to be busy, but in a fantastic way! Very recently, we were invited to bring the Tornado boat up to Asda St. Leonards to spend some time putting fun into fundraising.

Yes, Saturday 17th August saw volunteers from our base and boat crews, committee and Trustees representing us up at Asda St. Leonards. This gave us a great chance not only to raise awareness about our work and about beach safety, but also to do some fundraising and have a little fun in the community.

Asda have been amazing with their generosity in supporting us. We were invited to bring the boat up, as well as our own merchandise to sell and our donation pots. On a busy Saturday, this meant we enjoyed plenty of interest from shoppers, and took several enquiries from people who might like to get involved as a volunteer in the future.

We were very pleased to receive lots of donations from generous shoppers, who not only shared their spare change, but even a few spare notes on the day. Our calendars are now starting to sell too, which is a hopeful sign as the clock ticks towards the latter quarter of 2019!

But the real fun part of the day was spending time with kiddies who wanted to ask questions and explore the boat. All interest in what we do and how we do it leads into conversations about beach safety, and at this time of the year it’s essential. So in all, it really was a positive community day, thanks to Asda.

And how did we do? Between the donations received and sales of our merchandise, we raised just over £400 towards the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat running costs.

There will be more news on a boost from this next month, as we’re currently part of Asda’s Green Token scheme (read about that here). This ends in September and we could stand a chance of receiving an additional donation thanks to Asda and its customers.

Thank you so much once again to Asda, the staff at Asda St. Leonards and to everyone who came to chat to us and support us through donations or by buying our merchandise. All support is much appreciated and will go towards our annual running costs, to keep us afloat for another year!

Supporting the Community – Winchelsea Fete 2019

August continues to rush by in an umbrella-up-umbrella-down kind of way, but thankfully it all held off for the recent Winchelsea Fete and dog show.

The event took place on Saturday 10th August, and Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat base, boat and committee volunteers were invited to attend and provide BBQ facilities. With the Winchelsea Fete, this also meant a chance to bring up the smaller Tornado boat, chat to families about the work we do, collect donations and to sell some of our merchandise. 

Many of our volunteers were able to help out with this one on the day … at one stage we had 13 team members giving a helping hand. But rest assured, being a busy Saturday in August, the main Pulfer boat was ready and waiting down the boathouse in case of an emergency ‘Shout’ whilst several of our crew were suited, booted and ready for action at the fete, ready to quickly relocate should a boat launch be needed.

The event was well attended, which was great after all the poor weather in the run up to the event. We took the opportunity to ‘launch’ our new ‘Come and chat to us’ banner and plenty of people took us up on this. This resulted in us being able raise awareness about a lot of the work we do, as well as share information about local (and general) beach safety. We received lots of additional donations as well as enquiries about volunteering, which was brilliant.

We also had a ring-side view to the Dog Show which was huge fun and very entertaining. Honorary four-footed-crew-member Monty entered this fun competition and achieved himself a tidy rosette, whilst his crew-mate Seamus cheered Monty on whilst also focusing on fundraising with the team.

As well as the event raising money for local community services and charities, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat came away with just over £300 in additional donations and funds raised on the day.

Thank you so much once again to the Mayor of Winchelsea, Paul Godley, to the Corporation of Winchelsea and to the members of the fete committee who kindly invited us and made us so welcome on the day. Thank you too, to everyone who came to chat to us and supported us by buying merchandise and burgers and donating to us on the day. As ever, all support is much appreciated.

Supporting the Community – Hastings Beach Concert

It’s Hastings Beach Concert this weekend!

And quietly, behind the scenes some of our volunteer base and crew members have been helping with setting up for this popular event.

Early Friday morning (2nd August) a couple of car loads of volunteers arrived at The Stade in Hastings to help with setting up. These muscled members of the team were tasked with:

  • Putting up the HERAS security fencing.
  • Unrolling and cleaning up the artificial grass which had been in storage.
  • Laying out the artificial grass.

At the end of the preparation session, the venue was looking well on its way for the weekend festivities and the team was rewarded with full English breakfasts!

Thanks for inviting us to help – we’re always more than happy to provide community support as well as sea safety support. But in this particular instance, it’s a real privilege to help set up for an event which raises funds for Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, as well as for our sea safety colleagues at Hastings RNLI and Hastings Sea Cadets.

As an independent rescue boat charity, funds raised at events like this make a real difference to us and we’re very grateful for the continued support of the Winkle Club and Old Hastings Preservation Society. It’s great to be involved and we hope the concert and carnival weekend has been a huge success!