Lifeguards return to action for 10th anniversary of Norfolk beach patrols

North Norfolk District Council and RNLI lifeguards marking the 10th anniversary of beach patrols

North Norfolk District Council and RNLI lifeguards marking the 10th anniversary of beach patrols - Credit: Archant

While crowds of sun worshippers savour up the delights of the seaside they are the ever vigilant eyes and ears alert to the first sight and sound of danger.

It has been 10 years since RNLI lifeguards started patrolling Norfolk's beaches. During that time the team has saved several lives, taken part in scores of rescues and administered thousands of medical treatments.

Now with the holiday season looming, lifeguards will be back on duty this weekend to provide a reassuring presence for beach goers.

The RNLI launched the service in partnership with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in 2007 providing beach patrols at Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Sea Palling.

A decade later the service has expanded along the East Anglia coast to 16 beaches, including at West Runton, East Runton, Wells, Great Yarmouth. Lowestoft and Southwold.


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Four veteran RNLI lifeguards have been ever present since that first day a decade ago - Vincent Pank, Sam Kendrick, Scott Davidson and Chris Wall.

Mr Pank, who has risen through the ranks to become lifeguard manager, said: 'We were breaking new ground when we took on the lifeguard service for North Norfolk District Council in 2007, as it was the first time RNLI lifeguards had patrolled anywhere on the east coast of the UK.

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'I think we were seen as a novelty at the start, but we've earned the trust and respect of people who now seek out our advice, whether that is the public, lifeboat crews, emergency services or landowners.'

Since 2010 RNLI lifeguards in East Anglia have saved 18 lives, rescued 177 people and given medical care 4,001 times.

RNLI lifeguards will resume patrols of five beaches - Sheringham West, Cromer East, Mundesley, Sea Palling and Gorleston today and Lowestoft South and Southwold North on May 21. Patrols will commence at a further nine beaches from July 2.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'We're proud of what has been achieved in partnership with the RNLI over the past 10 years. 'The lifeguards are a skilled team and our admiration and thanks go to all of them for their dedication and bravery over the past decade.'

The wages for RNLI lifeguards at Cromer, Sea Palling, Sheringham, Mundesley are funded by NNDC, with training, equipment, lifeguard stations, vehicles, support services and management provided by the RNLI.

Anyone interested in working as an RNLI beach lifeguard can contact Mr Pank at Vincent_pank@rnli.org.uk or 07917 581567.

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