August 19, 2006
new second hovercraft unveiled at ESCAPE Day 2006
official unveiling of Burnham-On-Sea's new second hovercraft was
one of the highlights during the town's third annual ESCAPE Day.
crowd of around 3,000 people flocked to Burnham seafront on Saturday
(August 19th), when more than 14 emergency services from across
Somerset gathered for a joint safety awareness day.
brand new £15,000 'Light of Elizabeth' hovercraft is smaller
than its sister craft, the Spirit of Lelaina, and is set to be
used primarily for training and river rescues. The Spirit of Lelaina
was named after five year-old Lelaina Hall from Worcestershire,
who died after becoming trapped in mud at Berrow in 2002, and
the new craft is named after Lelaina's sister, Elizabeth (pictured
above), who was born a year after the tragedy.
mother, Caroline Hall, took part in Saturday's unveiling, which
was led by the Rev Graham Witts, vicar of Burnham's St Andrew's
Church, and Neville Jones (pictured right), the President of BARB,
the charity that manages the craft.
ceremony included a blessing and prayers for the new craft by
Rev Witts and the customary dousing of the craft in champagne
year's captains of Brean Golf Club - Bob Masterman and Deirdre
Wheadon - were presented with a certificate to mark their incredible
efforts in raising £9,000 towards the new craft. BARB Chairman
Alan Miller also praised the "considerable" support
of the Western Daily Press for its ongoing support.
the Emergency Services Community Awareness and Promotion Event,
was then officially opened by Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Eric
Gill - starting a day of non-stop demonstrations and displays.
the emergency groups taking part in this year's event were Burnham
Coastguards, Avon and Somerset Police, Somerset Fire and Rescue,
BARB, Burnham-On-Sea RNLI and St John Ambulance.
groups participating were Somerset Air Ambulance, Skywatch rescue
micro lights, Freewheelers Blood Bikes, Somerset 4x4 response,
Highways Agency Traffic Patrols and Burnham lifeguards.
from each service were on display along the seafront and life-saving
demonstrations were also held in the waters of Bridgwater Bay
and in the air above the town, providing spectators with a rare
chance to see the crews' work close-up.
simulated mud rescue was performed in Bridgwater Bay by the Coastguard
Mud Rescue Team and Burnham's Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft. It
successfully showed the dangers of venturing out into the mud.
demonstrations involving the town's lifeboats, micro lights, St
John Ambulance paramedics and Coastguards were held throughout
the group that operates Burnham's rescue hovercraft, organised
the event, having successfully launched it in 2004.
been a really great event," said BARB Chairman Alan Miller.
received around 3,000 visitors during the day and although the
final demonstration of the day - a fly-past of the lifeboats,
two hovercrafts and micro-lights - was cancelled due to poor weather,
it remained a great success."
day provided the crowds with an opportunity to meet the rescue
crews from our local emergency services and see at first hand
their valuable work."
also praised the work of the event's organiser, Roger Flower,
for his efforts in ensuring the day went to plan.
Coastguard Mud Rescue Team members after their rescue demonstration
with the Burnham hovercraft
Coastguard Mud Rescue team pulls a 'casualty' through thick mud
on Stert Island to the waiting Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft during
Vintage emergency vehciles were on display on the seafront during
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance's Ken Restarick and Mike Greenhoff
Sky Watch's Graham Whitehead, who oversaw the landing of six microlights
on Burnham beach
BARB chairman Alan Miller buying a copy of the Western Daily Press
from staff manning their trade van
St John ambulance staff tend to a 'casualty' during the group's
demonstration underneath Burnham's jetty
St John staff ferry the 'casualty' to the waiting Coastguard truck
Youngsters enjoyed trying out the Freewheeler Blood Bikes
Members of the RNLI Suppporters Group manning their stall
Tim Smith from the Highways Agency talked to the crowds of visitors
about road safety
Somerset 4x4 Response was represented by Terry Came, Paul Martin
and Peter Greenaway
West Country Knotters' Richard Hopkins demonstrates his rope skills
Alex Turco and other members of Burnham's Curtain Call drama group
performed songs during BCRfm roadshow
Burnham's Community Policing Unit was on scene and Victoria Robinson
(8), Craig Robinson (6) talked about safety with Community Support
Officer Gill Udall
The RNLI performed a drift rescue in Bridgwater Bay when two crew
members showed how fast the currents can be floating from the
low lighthouse to the town's jetty in a matter of minutes
The RNLI's James Morris and Nick Prout after their drift exercise
An orange flare helps the pilots of six microlights know where
to land on Burnham beach
One of the six Sky Watch microlights touches down on Burnham beach
The six microlights made an unusual sight on the sands
The crowds of visitors flocked to see the Sky Watch microlights
Burnham and Highbridge St John staff Stevie Smith, Dianne Britain,
Claire Gough, Keith Gough and Erica Murphy.
Burnham firefighters show their life-saving equipment to the crowds
members jump off a boat onto a landing tractor at the end of their
second demonstration in which a boat 'on fire' was rescued
video of the St John Ambulance paramedics demonstration