April 8, 2006
Lieutenant of Somerset visits Burnham-On-Sea hovercraft's AGM
Elizabeth Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, stepped onboard Burnham's
Spirit of Lelaina hovercraft for a flight along the coastline
before attending the Annual General Meeting of BARB, the charity
that runs the life-saving service, on Friday April 7th.
Gass enjoyed her trip alongside BARB President Neville Jones,
pictured, before getting a tour of the hovercraft station and
then moving on to the AGM in the town council's chambers in Jaycroft
Jones opened the 13th AGM of BARB, which is the third for the
group as a hovercraft rescue organisation, by praising the crew
who had again been a "credit to Burnham."
He added: "If anyone did want to get stuck somewhere in the
UK and need rescuing, this would surely be the best place given
Burnham's skilled rescue services."
of Appreciation were presented to two of BARB's pilots, Pete Emery
and Simon Triggol, who were involved in two of the most serious
incidents of the year.
Emery had piloted the craft during the double
rescue of a lifeguard and young swimmer at the end of Burnham
jetty last July, while Mr Triggol was behind the controls during
rescue of a man stuck in the mud at Weston-super-Mare last
was also announced that Brean Golf Club would receive a certificate
for what Mr Jones described as the "incredible efforts"
of its members in raising more than £9,000 for the hovercraft
Chairman Alan Miller reviewed the 14 call-outs of the past year,
praising "the amazing team" around him. He added: "Without
the hovercraft and our dedicated team in place, there would have
been fatalities on several occasions this year."
said the number of active crew members remained strong at almost
20, and he confirmed that BARB's fleet would soon grow with the
introduction of a new, smaller craft.
Press Officer Mark Newman was then presented with the Heathcoat-Amory
Award for his services to the charity.
said he was "delighted and honoured" to receive the
award - an antique telescope - which is presented to the person
who has contributed most significantly to the welfare of BARB
over the past 12 months.
Gass, who also visited the RNLI and Coastguard stations during
her visit to the town, said she had enjoyed her "very interesting"
flight along the beach to the lighthouse. "Looking out of
the hovercraft as I flew along the sands, Burnham looked wonderful
with the setting sun on it," she said. She also praised the
efforts of the crew for their "invaluable" work.
Wright, Editor of the Western Daily Press, also thanked
BARB for its efforts this year and for inviting him to the AGM.
He also praised his newspaper's readers for their continuing support
of the hovercraft after many thousands of pounds has been raised
by the paper during the last three years.
Mike Ross said the funds of the charity were in "good shape"
following a successful year. There had been considerable expenditure
for a new engine, trailer improvements and increased insurance
costs, but these had been offset by the strong financial support.
He thanked all those who had contributed to the group.
Charles gave the Senior Pilot's report in which said the craft
had again proved its worth and that he was pleased to see new
trainee pilots coming forward. "We can go into the future
with confidence," he said.
a separate report, Training Officer Pete Emery said it had been
a successful year in which every crew member had been taken out
flying. He added: "With the second smaller hovercraft coming
in the next few months, a lot of our focus will be on river rescue
Officer Mark Newman then looked back at BARB's media coverage
over the past year, making special mention to a visit by Sky News
last summer and the press coverage which followed the rescues
at the end of Burnham Jetty and in Weston. He thanked the Western
Daily Press for its continuing support and presented a bouquet
to the paper's Special Features Editor, Wendy Best.
the end of the evening, the annual award for the crew member who
had done the silliest thing over the past 12 months was presented.
year, the reluctant winner of the 'Fanny Award' was Pete Charles,
who had briefly got BARB's tractor stuck in the mud near Burnham
Sailing Club during a training session! The award was presented
to him by last year's winner, Pete Emery, as pictured.
Hill presented a copy of her book on the history of Burnham's
hovercraft and lifeboats to Lady Gass
left to right: BARB's Alan Miller, Tony Winterburn, Martin Cox
with Neville Jones
in the evening, Andy Wright, Editor of the Western Daily Press,
heard about the work of the hovercraft from crew members Pete
Emery, Mel Gosling and Steve Perks
BARB supporter Ollie Croker presenting a posy of flowers to Lady
crew members line up in front of the hovercraft with Lady Gass,
Andy Wright, Wendy Best (Special Features Editor of the Western
Daily Press) and BARB President Neville Jones.
Hovercraft Web site