Dozens of people attended the AGM of Burnham-On-Sea’s rescue hovercraft charity BARB Search & Rescue on Friday (June 14th) when a busy year of call-outs and fundraising was reviewed.

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

Tony Winterburn, a BARB boat house trustee since the launch of the charity 27 years ago, was the speaker for the evening, and gave a humbling speech on his clear recollections of being a D-Day veteran and helping to land troops in Normandy in 1944. Tony, 93, received a standing ovation at the end of his moving talk, which came just a few days after the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Neville Jones Shield, named after BARB’s late founder and presented to BARB’s volunteer of the year, was presented by current President Roger Flower to the charity’s fundraising officer Craig Dunbar who has put in a huge amount of time this past year in organising many successful fundraising events.

Certificates were also presented to many of the charity’s key fundraisers, including Burnham’s Trinity Close residents who raised over £7,000 last Christmas for BARB with their festive lights display.

Burnham’s GW Hurleys newsagents was named the business that had collected the most for the charity over the past year with its coin collection pots.

Burnham and Highbridge Mayor Cllr Andy Brewer, Sedgemoor District Council Chairman Cllr Peter Clayton and Burnham’s former MP Tessa Munt were among the special guests who thanked BARB’s volunteers for their work in keeping the coastline safe.

BARB’s Chairman Mark Newman thanked the charity’s fundraisers, crew and supporters for their dedication, with the volunteers putting in over 5,000 hours of time for the charity.

Operations Manager Mike Lowe also thanked BARB’s team for their commitment, working closely with Burnham Coastguards, the RNLI, Police and other local services while attending 50 call-outs last year and 28 incidents so far in 2019.

BARB has recently joined Surf Life Saving GB as an affiliate member and can be deployed across the UK during major incidents, such as flooding. The AGM was attended by Adrian Mayhew, the national operations manager of SLS GB, who welcomed BARB’s involvement.

Pictured: Friday’s AGM of BARB held in Burnham (photos Mo Hunt)