Blue Flag beach remains one of safest in country despite death

Sea Palling Lifeboat crew turned out for their annual lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Sea Palling Lifeboat crew turned out for their annual lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

A beach at the centre of a rip tide drama which left one person dead and another fighting for their life last month remains one of the safest in the country, according to the volunteers who help protect it.

Sea Palling Lifeboat crew turned out for their annual lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Sea Palling Lifeboat crew turned out for their annual lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

Craig Spence, coxswain of Sea Palling Lifeboat, made the comments as the independent service held its annual Lifeboat Day on Sunday to raise funds for the life-saving call-outs.

He revealed the registered charity needs £20,000 a year to stay afloat and relies on fundraising to survive.

Mr Spence said: 'We have lovely beach at Sea Palling - a Blue Flag beach - and it is very safe.

'The RNLI monitor the water, the flags display where it is perfectly safe to swim, and we've got good lifeboat cover in this part of the country.

Youngsters enjoy the water at Sea Palling Lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Youngsters enjoy the water at Sea Palling Lifeboat day. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

'The safety is there for people to enjoy the beach and the Norfolk coast.'

The independent station at Sea Palling opened in 1974. It is now one of only four independent lifeboat stations in the county alongside Hemsby, Caister and Mundesley.

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Last month, a 52-year-old man, Leszek Puchala, from Poland, died and another, aged 26, was fighting for his life in hospital after a group of swimmers got caught up in a riptide at the lcal beauty spot.

Mr Spence said: 'We're there to cover safety at sea, up to seven miles offshore. And, with our neighbouring lifeboat stations, we cover all the way up to Happisburgh and down to Hemsby which is part of the sea safety we've got in this country.

'Just over this last month we have been called out six times, so it has been quite a busy period. It just goes to show how popular the beaches are in this area.

'Because we're independent we have to fundraise ourselves, we don't get money from anywhere else. We have a lifeboat day once a year to try to raise some of that money.'

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