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April 3, 2004
Lifeboat recsues trapped couple in first full launch

Burnham & Highbridge Mercury, April 13, 2004
Burnham's new lifeboat has played its first life saving role by rescuing two people and a dog who were stranded and just minutes from being engulfed by waves.

The lifeboat - called the Staines Whitfield - was taking part in a training run to Minehead when it sailed to the rescue.

Holford residents Brett Bates and Susan Juggins were walking along the cliffs when their collie dog Sam fell over the edge, landing on Lilstock Beach, 60 feet below.

Brett and Susan went to help their dog but were cut off by the tide - one of the highest of the year.

Luckily, crew aboard the Scooby Doo 2 spotted the stranded couple and raised the alarm. Staines Whitfield answered the call for aid.

Malcolm Tanner, helsman, said: "We heard on the radio that the Watchet crew was trying to find some people cut off by the tide and headed back towards Watchet. We were half a mile out from the Minehead coast when we found them."

At 6pm, Brett, Susan and Sam were perched on a disappearing stretch of sand and 45 minutes from being washed out to sea. The lifeboat moved into shallow water near the rocky shore and Malcolm and crewman Lyndon Baker plunged into the sea. Crewman Richie Grimmet reached out and helped Brett, Susan and Sam aboard. They dropped their relieved and unhurt passengers to safety further up the beach.

The RSPCA was on hand and treated Sam at the scene. He had a broken leg and injured ribs from his fall.

The lifeboat crew's efforts were even more spectacular as Lyndon and Richie had never carried out a rescue before. Malcolm, who has ten years experience wit BARB, said: "The two guys were new to the game. They had been out on the boat two or three times, but on this time they can got an eye opener as it was their first shout and they did very well. The boat also did very well. The RNLI is second to none and the boat is a fabulous bit of kit."

The Staines Whitfield is Burnham's first lifeboat for 70 years and will be officially named and dedicated at a ceremony on May 15.

This story appeared on the front page of the April 13, 2004 edition of the Burnham & Highbridge Mercury

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