The Chief Executive of North Somerset Council was the special guest at the AGM of Burnham-On-Sea’s rescue hovercraft charity BARB on Friday evening (May 11th).

Graham Turner joined 40 people at Burnham’s Town Council Chambers in Jaycroft Road to hear about a busy year for the life-saving charity.

Mr Turner told the audience he is a “strong supporter” of Burnham’s marine rescue services and was honoured to be invited, adding that he hoped the visit would “create even stronger links between Burnham and North Somerset.”

He was given a tour of the seafront hovercraft station by BARB’s volunteer crew and also visited Burnham Coastguards, the RNLI and Burnham’s community-run tourist information centre.

During the AGM, BARB’s Chairman Mark Newman confirmed that a new hovercraft to replace the Light Of Elizabeth – which has been heavily used for five years as a training and rescue craft – is to be launched this year.

He thanked BARB’s many fundraisers and supporters for their “hugely appreciated support” who help the charity meet its £30,000 annual running costs. Among those highlighted were Brean’s Diamond Farm Holiday Park, Burnham’s Trinity Close Christmas Lights Team, Somerset Motorcycle Group, the Town Council and Burnham Moose Lodge.

He and Operations Manager Mike Lowe praised BARB’s volunteer crew for their tremendous team spirit over the past year.

Certificates were presented during to some of the charity’s fundraisers and crew by BARB President Neville Jones and Mr Turner.

They included Brian and Ann Nicholls, who have been long-running supporters of BARB, plus Diamond Farm Holiday Park, BIARS (which raised £1,200 for BARB), Mrs GM Newton for her fundraising, Burnham Moose Lodge, crewmember Pete Francois, and local firms Baytree Upholstery, The Woodpile and Ian James Caravans for their help with recent improvements to the BARB station.

The annual telescope award, given to the BARB crewmember who contributed most to the welfare of the organisation over the past year, was presented to Mike Lowe, who leads the day-to-day operations of the station.

During the election of officers, those re-appointed were Chairman Mark Newman, Vice Chairman David Bailey, Operations Manager Mike Lowe, BARB Treasurer Mike Ross and BARB Secretary Roger Flower. A new Deputy Operations Manager, Graham Hallsworth, was selected.

Burnham’s Deputy Mayor Martin Cox was also in attendance, representing the town council.

Mr Turner presenting Brian and Ann Nicholls with a certificate for their long-running support of BARB

BARB President Neville Jones with Graham Turner, Operations Manager Mike Lowe and Deputy Operations Manager Graham Hallsworth in front of The Spirit Of Lelaina

Volunteer crewmember Pete Francois receiving a certificate (Pics: Mike Lang)