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Published: February 12, 2007
Avon fire service gives Burnham hovercraft group big equipment boost

Delighted crewmembers at BARB, the charity behind Burnham-on-Sea's rescue hovercraft, are this week celebrating after a major donation of equipment from Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

The fire service has given a 4x4 pick-up truck and other kit including a power generator, air compressor, various lighting equipment and torches, plus high-visibility jackets and traffic cones – all of which it no longer uses.

With BARB preparing for another busy tourist season, the newly-acquired equipment - which is worth around £7,000 - will quickly be brought into use alongside its two hovercraft and existing tow truck.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Kevin Pearson, (pictured above with BARB Chairman Alan Miller) said: "I am delighted to be handing over this equipment to BARB. I am sure the team will put it to good use, as they continue to provide a vital life-saving service to the people living around and visiting the North Somerset coastline."

"Avon Fire & Rescue Service is hoping to acquire its own hovercraft and we look forward to working with the BARB team in the future to benefit from their knowledge and experience."

The proposed new Avon Fire & Rescue Service hovercraft will operate in the Bristol and Bath area of the region.

Mr Miller thanked the group, saying: "We are hugely grateful to the fire service for this very generous donation. The equipment will be put to immediate use to be used by the crews of our two hovercrafts and inshore rescue boat. It is brilliant for rescue organisations to work together like this to help make our community a safer place."

BARB's flagship hovercraft, The Spirit Of Lelaina, has helped and rescued more than 95 people during its three years of operation. It is named after five year-old Lelaina Hall, who tragically lost her life in mud at Berrow in 2002.

The Western Daily Press launched a huge fundraising campaign after the tragedy when its readers donated £115,000 to buy the fully-equipped craft. BARB also launched a second, smaller hovercraft last summer, which is named The Light Of Elizabeth after Lelaina’s sister.


BARB Web site

Avon Fire & Rescue Web site [External link]

BBC Online coverage of this story [External link]


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