Crowds flocked on to the beach this morning to support the Hemsby lifeboat day.

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Stall and sideshows, music from local DJ Wayne Stevens, a display by Gorleston lifeboat and a model boats exhibition kept families entertained in the warm sunshine.

Ross Hewitt, coxswain at the independent station in the village near Great Yarmouth, said the lifeboat day was one of their two big fund-raisers a year and they were hopeful it would raise as much as £3,000.

He said: “We have two boats to cover the Broads as well as the coast and our running costs are about £20,000 a year with our insurance and running repairs.”

Within the next two years they would also be looking to replace the Broads boat and the Land Rover which tows it at a total cost of about £35,000 so fund-raising was vital.

Families were given the chance of a close-up inspection of the boats, which can respond to as many as 30 emergencies on the sea and inland waterways each year, although a strong easterly breeze stopped them launching for a demonstration.

Mr Hewitt said: “The Broads can be a dangerous place for holidaymakers. If they don’t know the route they may stray outside markers and find hidden obstructions.

“If there is an offshore wind blowing we can find ourselves busy rescuing children blown out to sea on inflatables. We have known days where we have been called out three or four times.”

The lifeboat’s second major fund-raiser, Hemsby Herring Day, when herrings are cooked on the beach, is on Sunday, August 26.

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