North Norfolk Surf Lifesaving Club in Cromer holds official opening with patron David Whitely

A club promoting water safety and lifesaving skills will officially mark the opening of its club house tonight (Monday).

Based at Cromer's seafront, the North Norfolk Surf Lifesaving Club (NNSLSC) are holding the event from 7pm, which will include a demonstration of the work they do.

NNSLSC was formed in 2008 by a group of beach lifeguards to establish a focal point for volunteers in Norfolk to train and improve their lifesaving skills.

And now the new permanent premises, complete with showers and changing rooms, provides a training base for beach lifeguards as well as providing water safety lessons for children.

Sophie Liddament, 20, of Wymondham, is one of the 12 volunteers who help the club and joined in 2009 after getting injured during a swimming incident in Cornwall.

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'I wanted to be a club member after that,' she said.

'This club is so vital. My accident in Cornwall proved that even the strongest swimmer can get in trouble.'

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The club house is based inside the former toilet block near the pier, which had been deemed unfit for purpose and closed in May 2006.

North Norfolk District Council carried out a �90,000 refurbishment, which included giving the Red Lion steps a facelift, and now lets the premises to each business.

The western half of the new facility is rented out to Ben Kewell, who uses it as a base for Glide Surf School, which he has been operating from the beach nearby for five years. He also uses it for a surf equipment shop.

And NNSLSC rents the eastern half.

Mike Snelling, club chairman, said the cub house had been vital to expand the work NNSLSC had been doing for what he described as 'sport with purpose'.

He said: 'It increases the amount of people who are able to help in the region. The club house is massive news for the area.'

NNSLSC is a not for profit organisation and currently offers junior lifeguard and beach lifeguard courses. Its mission is to supply volunteer lifeguards to patrol local beaches and provide a platform for those interested in surf lifesaving to improve their skills and fitness.

Presenter and keen surfer David Whiteley is patron of NNSLSC and will be at the official opening this evening.

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