TV personality Anneka Rice visited Burnham-On-Sea’s BARB hovercraft station on Wednesday (August 16th) as part of the charity’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
Anneka filmed at the town’s hovercraft station on the seafront, which she helped to build in 72 hours as part of her Challenge Anneka TV show in 1994, two years after BARB was first formed, as featured here.
Anneka is currently re-visiting some of her most successful community projects from the show and therefore met BARB’s crew – past and present – plus some of the residents who were involved in the project at the time.
Anneka started the day by joining a training session on Burnham beach where she flew along the sands in the Spirit of Lelaina 2 hovercraft.
The ITV production team used a drone to film the hovercraft flight and record her comments onboard, as pictured above.
Anneka interviewed former BARB crewmembers Martin Cox, Malcolm Tanner, Glen Cutter, Nick Prout, Jason White and Charlie Hall plus current members including Mark Newman, Adrian Cunningham, Andy Croker and Sam Mason.
She also interviewed Ray Harris, who was was a Burnham Police sergeant during the challenge, and his wife Lin, a supporter of the project.
Anneka and ‘Dave the sound man’ also dropped in at the Somerset and Dorset pub in Burnham High Street where an enthusiastic welcome was given by supporters. Since the pub featured in the original Challenge Anneka film, the barman from the time – Bob Leigh – was on hand to welcome them with crew from the day.
Anneka was presented with a Challenge Anneka mug by Ray Harris and Lin during the day. A DVD of the challenge programme prepared by Nick Tolley was also presented to her by David Whatley.
Charlie Hall explained to Anneka why he’d sent in the original letter to the TV show requesting that they consider building a lifeboat station as part of a challenge.
Anneka and ‘Dave the sound man’ also dropped in at the Somerset and Dorset pub that featured in the initial show.
They met the S&D’s barman from the time – Bob Leigh – who remembers serving up well-deserved pints at the time to mark the completion of the TV challenge.
Anneka chatted with current crewmembers about the impact that the building the station had on them and how it’s now used to house the charity’s rescue boats and hovercrafts.
A photo of Burnham’s original BARB lifeboat crew was on display, being held here by former crewmen Glen Cutter, Nick Prout, Jason White.
Martin Cox recounted an incident in the early 1990s in which he was on a boat that overturned near Stert Island that was one of the reasons for BARB being formed.
Nick Prout chatting through his memories of the building work with Anneka.
Former operations manager Malcolm Tanner discussing the early days of BARB with Anneka.
BARB Chairman Mark Newman said: “It was wonderful to welcome Anneka back to our station and we thank her for choosing us as one of her 60 Challenge projects to feature again.”
“It was great to see so many of BARB’s former crew returning to recount some of the many stories about the project – it was no small feat to build a whole station in 72 hours!”
“The buildling has stood the test of time, despite several changes over the years, and is home to our life-saving hovercrafts and rescue boats, overseen by our dedicated volunteers.”
Anneka also met with local children from Yew Trees Pre-School who were visiting BARB during the morning and enjoyed seeing the filming and hovercraft flight up close.
Anneka finished the day’s filming with a piece to camera on the sea wall in which she talked about how delighted she’d been to visit Burnham again and see the BARB station being so well used.
The finished five-minute feature is scheduled to be aired on ITV1’s This Morning programme on Tuesday August 22nd.