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Solent Rescue appeals for public support to fund lifeboat upgrade

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Solent Rescue volunteers (l-r) Nathan Mansbridge, Peter Harvey, Dino Dorin Dejan, Mark Jones, Lee Cooper and Kenny Jackson
Solent Rescue volunteers (l-r) Nathan Mansbridge, Peter Harvey, Dino Dorin Dejan, Mark Jones, Lee Cooper and Kenny Jackson

AN independent lifeboat organisation based at Lepe Country Park in Exbury is appealing to public as it aims to raise £15,000 to upgrade its inshore rescue boat.

Solent Rescue says the money will pay for items such as a bow-first bespoke launch trailer, post inversion restart engine – to ensure it fires up again in the event of the lifeboat rolling over in high seas – as well as full electrical suite for the D-class vessel.

Most incidents involved Lepe Spit and the unit is proactively giving out advice and words of caution through word of mouth, Facebook, their website as well as local radio.

Senior crew member Cameron Critchfield said: “We are looking for assistance in fundraising for this project. If you would like to help, please contact us or donate via our Facebook page or on the text function.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of people visiting Lepe to enjoy the lovely open spaces, serene walks and stunning views. This has resulted in a greater density of incidents both on land and at sea which is why we are upgrading our equipment.”

The organisation was formed initially as a beach rescue unit but has since developed into a rescue unit with both inshore and offshore rescue capabilities.

Solent Rescue helps to monitor approximately 33 square miles of the central and western Solent, as part of a wider framework of independent and RNLI operated lifeboats on the south coast.

They are operational at weekends and bank holidays from March until September, and around the clock during Cowes Week, operating two rescue boats along with a shore-based rescue truck.

The unit also supports Lepe Country Park with first aid cover during operational weekends.

Cameron explained: “Being a small independent maritime rescue charity is not an easy task, so all the help and support we receive is critical to our continued existence.

“Since our establishment in 1971, ensuring the local community gets involved has been paramount. This includes every aspect of the unit, from operating the rescue assets to raising funds and looking after the rescue equipment.

“This year for the first time in our history we attended the Lymington carnival and the Hythe Marina open day with our 4x4 emergency response vehicle.

“It was a great opportunity to engage with the community and spread a bit of knowledge on staying safe in and around the sea.

Cameron added: “The Solent is an extremely busy recreational and commercial waterway and as such demands dedicated, well-trained lifeboat crews to assist the many people that can find themselves in difficulties.”

The Facebook site is www.facebook.com/solentrescue. A £3 donation can be made by texting 70660 with the reference SOLENTRESC and Solent Rescue gets 100% of the funds (standard network fees apply).

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