Raising money for the Caister lifeboatmen who never turn back

There was rock and roll, model boats and a mock 'man overboard' show at Caister Lifeboat's big fund-raising fete today (Sunday, August 7).

The event was the biggest annual event for the station, which has been operating independently from the RNLI since 1969 and protecting Norfolk's coastline since 1794.

Volunteer crews will use the money raised to keep its offshore and inshore vessels afloat. Every penny is needed with it costing them an estimated �160,000 a year to run their lifeboats.

'We simply wouldn't survive without local support,' said coxwain Paul Williams.

The 14-strong crew was called to rescue a dinghy in distress as they set up stalls at 10.30am this morning, but were back in time to man the stalls which ranged from a traditional tombola to a fried herring stand.

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'We had loads going on with a live rock and roll band, a bar, and all the stalls,' said Mr Williams.

'Last year we raised �10,000. I think we might be a little down on that this time with money being tight for everyone, but it's been really busy.'

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Both the offshore boat Bernard Matthews II and the inshore vessel Jim Davidson OBE were on show during the day. Visitors were also invited to look around the station's heritage centre, learn about crew members past and present and see the now-retired Shirley Jean Adye lifeboat built in 1952.

The Caister lifeboatmen hold an important place in Britain's lifeboat history. It was in 1901 that the Caister lifeboat capsized and only three of the 12-man crew were saved. In the wake of this disaster, veteran lifeboat man James Haylett coined the now famous phrase 'Caister Men Never Turn Back'.

• A 32-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy had to be rescued by Caister Lifeboat today after getting into difficulties in a dinghy off Caister beach. Crewman Alex Low said the father and son, on holiday from Hertfordshire, needed to be towed after they found themselves about a mile offshore fighting against strong wind and powerful tide.

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