Dozens of people attended the AGM of Burnham-On-Sea’s rescue hovercraft charity BARB Search & Rescue on Friday (May 20th) when a busy year of call-outs and fundraising was reviewed.

The charity’s volunteers and supporters gathered at Burnham’s Town Council Chambers for the annual meeting.

Those present heard the charity’s hovercrafts and rescue boats have been called out more than 30 times over the past year to help people in difficulty along the coastline.

Burnham’s MP, James Heappey, who was among those present, said he is a “huge supporter” of BARB and praised all those involved for their volunteering work.

The speaker and special guest for the evening was Superintendent Mike Prior from Avon and Somerset Police, pictured, who recounted how he had got into difficulty on the water many years ago and needed help. “A big thank you goes to all those at BARB for their superb work in making our county a safer place,” he said.

During the meeting, BARB’s Chairman Mark Newman thanked the charity’s fundraisers, crew and supporters for their “hugely appreciated work” and he also praised the close working with the RNLI and Coastguard.

BARB Operations Manager Mike Lowe talked about some of the rescues that had taken place and thanked all of BARB’s crewmembers for their time and work.

BARB President Neville Jones and BARB Treasurer Mike Ross were both presented with long-service awards, recognising their involvement with the charity since it was formed 24 years ago.

Certificates were also presented to several of the charity’s fundraisers and crew, including Lorraine and Clive Hansard for their fundraising work, Christine Marston for her five years with the charity, and hovercraft pilots Wayne Kilgallon and Adrian Cunningham.

The annual telescope award, which is given to the crewmember who has contributed the most to the charity over the past year, was presented to Operations Manager Mike Lowe.

Burnham’s Mayor Cllr Michael Clarke and Mayoress Maria Clarke also thanked the charity for its work, saying they are “hugely impressed at the professionalism and dedication,” and presented a cheque for £500 to BARB from the Pitzhanger Masonic Lodge of London.

During the election of officers, those re-appointed were Chairman Mark Newman, Vice Chairman Chris Bess, Operations Manager Mike Lowe, Deputy Operations Manager Graham Hallsworth and BARB Treasurer Mike Ross.

Pictured: Friday’s night’s AGM of BARB Search & Rescue (photos Mike Lang)