State-of-the-art new lifeboat for Wells station

The Wells lifeboat is scheduled to be replaced by a larger, faster and more advanced rescue vessel currently being developed by the RNLI.

The news of the upgrade, from the current Mersey Class all-weather boat to the new Shannon Class lifeboat, was confirmed at the annual meeting of the Wells Lifeboat and Guild on Monday night.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI Divisional Inspector, said the state-of-the-art vessel was still in the early stages of development and would not be commissioned for some time, but he expected sea trials to begin by early next year.

Wells operations manager Chris Hardy told the meeting that the station had just been through a five year coastal review and had come through with flying colours.

He quoted Paul Boissier, the RNLI's Chief Executive, and said: 'He was impressed that Wells lifeboat was looked after with such immense pride and he could not help being moved by the huge commitment given to the lifeboat station by the crew, shore-helpers, station officials and fundraisers, not to mention their families who whole-heartedly support them.'

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Coxswain Allen Frary said the number of call-outs and rescues by the Wells crew was slightly lower than the previous year. 85 people were rescued along with 8 dogs compared to 94 rescues and 6 dogs the previous year.

Crew numbers at the station had remained stable, but he said he was looking to recruit more crew to man the inshore lifeboat and appealed for anyone who was interested to contact him at the boathouse.

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Chairman of the guild Jean Court told the meeting that fifteen fund-raising events organised throughout the year had brought in more than �10,600, which was �1,600 more than last year.

Senior fundraising manager Tammy Allgood said altogether the RNLI nationally launched 8,313 times last year and costs �135m a year to run, the organisation hoped to save �20m over three years through its 'lean' campaign.

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