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Happisburgh and Mundesley coastguards move in to new Bacton base

14:39 09 November 2012

New coastguard station for Happisburgh and Mundesley - at Bacton. Left to right:  Colin Fleming, Happisburgh Lifeboat Station DLA; Fred Rendell, Happisburgh Coastwatch;  Tony Garbutt, Coastguard Sector Manager; Vice Admiral Sir Alan Michael Massey; Sam Hendrick RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor; Inspector Matt Dyson, North Walsham and  Stalham Safer Neighbourhood Team. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

New coastguard station for Happisburgh and Mundesley - at Bacton. Left to right: Colin Fleming, Happisburgh Lifeboat Station DLA; Fred Rendell, Happisburgh Coastwatch; Tony Garbutt, Coastguard Sector Manager; Vice Admiral Sir Alan Michael Massey; Sam Hendrick RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor; Inspector Matt Dyson, North Walsham and Stalham Safer Neighbourhood Team. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

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Cliff erosion has brought two coastguard rescue service teams much closer together.

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The 15-strong Mundesley and Happisburgh teams now share a new base at a convenient half-way point between the two, at Bacton.

From there the volunteers, who are on-call “24/7”, monitor a varied stretch of coastline which ranges from the cliffs of Sidestrand to the dunes of Waxham, watching for trouble and ready to help.

The move follows the loss of Happisburgh’s cliff-edge base about a year ago because of coastal erosion, which made access unsafe, according to Bob Francis, station officer for the Mundesley team, whose own headquarters was small and ageing.

The teams now operate from the former garage premises at Pollard Street, Bacton, which have been converted to provide facilities including a training room, vehicle storage and showers.

The base was officially opened last weekby Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, chief executive of the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

So far this year the volunteers, who jointly run a ropes/cliff rescue team, have been to about 45 incidents, including searching for missing people and helping with ambulance and air-ambulance evacuations of patients.

On one occasion two Happisburgh members used life jackets and lifelines to rescue someone stranded on the rock armour at Sea Palling.

The teams are joined at the new base by full-time sector officer Tony Garbutt, whose patch stretches from Hunstanton to Waxham.

● Members of the public can meet some of the team, hear about their work and view the base at an open day on Sunday December 2 from 10am to 4pm.

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