Safety boost as East Runton Coastwatch building is agreed

A missing link in a chain of Coastwatch stations along the north Norfolk shore is set to be added.

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has been campaigning for a station near Cromer for a number of years.

There are 46 stations around the coastline of England and Wales, with four covering north Norfolk at Mundesley, Happisburgh, Sheringham and Wells - each providing extra eyes to spot sailors or beach users in trouble.

The organisation has now secured a five-year lease and planning permission from North Norfolk District Council to site a purpose-designed portable building on the clifftops at East Runton car park.

So far the group has raised around �25,000 with donations from the Sunley Charitable Foundation, The Rothschild Bank, Awards for All, Interconnector at Bacton gas terminal as well as donations from individuals.

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Next week it plans to buy the new station building which will have secure fencing and gated vehicle access.

Richard May, chairman of Mundesley Coastwatch, said they had quite a few people interested in helping with the station, which would be manned from 10am to 4pm daily.

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Their main role is to relay information about people, animals or craft in distress to the emergency services - in addition to all the modern technology used by shipping and coastguards.

Funds to keep the stations going are typically raised from regular collections by members of that station's voluntary staff at locations such as supermarkets, plus street collections.

Funds are also obtained from donations by local businesses and organisations, such as the Masonic order and Rotary club.

National statistics show that in 2011 NCI Coastwatch services handled 304 incidents, during 190,000 hours manned by more than 2,000 trained volunteers.

Mr May said: 'Our aim is to provide a watchful pair of eyes and to perhaps offer a gesture of defiance to the clock of technology.'

Anyone wanting to become involved with Coastwatch at East Runton should can contact Mike on 01263 511949.

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