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New Burnham hovercraft 'The Spirit Of Lelaina' is launched

The official launch of the BARB hovercraftThe Association of Search & Rescue Hovercraft is proud to announce the formal launch of the ASRH/BARB branch at Burnham on Sea. This is the Association's third branch to be formed and represents a unique partnership between A.S.R.H. and a second charity, the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (B.A.R.B.).

The launch follows the tragic death of little Lelaina Hall in June 2002 when she became trapped in the treacherous mudflats that surround the area. Following an appeal launch by A.S.R.H. and a sustained campaign by the Western Daily Press, sufficient funds were raised by generous readers of the newspaper which have allowed the purchase of a six seater BBV6 hovercraft, trailer and support equipment.

Members of BARB and ASRH at the official launchThe hovercraft will be operated by members of B.A.R.B. who have been working closely with, and have undergone training by, A.S.R.H.

Saturday 22 March involved a private ceremony with Lelaina's family and members of A.S.R.H., B.A.R.B., invited guests and the Western Daily Press.

The hovercraft was formally unveiled by Lelaina's mother, Caroline, to those present. ASRH/BARB member Malcolm Tanner described the craft as "absolutely unbelievable" and A.S.R.H. Trustee Gordon Robinson added: "The previous nine months have been extremely hard work for all those involved on this appeal, but today's result shows that all that effort has been well worth it. We now have an effective rescue vehicle based here that can deal with the mudflats safely and effectively."

Burnham's Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft was given a police escort into Burnham-On-SeaLater that afternoon the craft was taken to the B.A.R.B. Boathouse under police escort where it was placed on show for the public to see. Sunday saw a service on the beach where the craft was formally named and blessed. Lelaina's family were then taken for the first ride on the craft piloted by ASRH's Bill Allen and members of the ASRH/BARB branch.

In attendance was the crafts' builder Magnus Ivanoff from N. Stavsudda Handel AB in Sweden as well as the crafts' designer Bill Baker. Several other hovercraft were in attendance to celebrate the launch. With the new holiday season approaching, this new hovercraft will be a major asset in preventing another tragedy from happening again.

Related Links:

Association of Search and Rescue Hovercraft

Western Daily Press Lelaina Fund

N. Stavsudda Handel AB, Sweden

Facts and figures about the Spirit of Lelaina hovercraft.

All images on this page copyright of the The Western Daily Press.

Also see the Official BARB Web site home page



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