Southwold lifeboat day will be fun event

DRAMATIC lifeboat demonstrations, a sandcastle competition and a balloon race will draw crowds to Southwold seafront this weekend.

Southwold's lifeboat The Leslie Tranmer 1 will join with the Tyne Class Spirit of Lowestoft and local fishing boats to demonstrate how the RNLI saves lives at sea during the charity's annual Lifeboat Day on Saturday.

The first display will be off Southwold from 11am; the second off Dunwich from 3pm.

Some of the Southwold crew will act as mariners who have abandoned a fishing boat and boarded a six-man life raft. They will set off smoke flares to attract attention. Once recovered, the rescued mariners transfer to a moving lifeboat, using a technique called slow speed transfer, before returning safe and well to the boathouse at Southwold Harbour.

A lifeboat has been stationed in Southwold for 149 years, and the station is looking forward to celebrating the 150th anniversary throughout next year. Other events during the day will include a balloon race on the promenade below the Sailors' Reading Room from 10am to 2pm, a sandcastle competition on the beach from 11am to 3pm. Entry fees will apply.

There will be Punch and Judy on the pier, souvenirs on sale and a Lowestoft Model Boat Club display at the model boating lake near the pier from 10am to 4pm.

David Tytler, chairman of the Southwold and Dunwich Fundraiser group, said: 'The RNLI is independent from the government and relies on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income.

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'The crew's kit for the Southwold Station costs around �1,000 per person. In 2010, the national service cost �145.5 million.

'Many thousands of volunteers, who make up 97pc of its people, give their time to ensure that a high proportion of the RNLI's money is spent on first-class boats and equipment. The RNLI sets great store by its voluntary spirit.'

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