A big crowd lined Burnham-On-Sea’s seafront on Sunday (August 7th) for the town’s annual rescue services day.

Dozens of emergency services from across the West Country held displays and demonstrations in front of an estimated crowd of 1,500 people on the South Esplanade.

The event began with an official opening performed by Burnham’s MP, Tessa Munt, Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Maria Clarke, and BARB President Neville Jones.

A ceremony to formally launch BARB’s new inshore rescue boat – which will be used for rescues on lakes and rivers – was held during the day and the winner of a competition to name the boat also announced. Over 80 entries were received and the winning name plucked from a hat was Seren.

Almost 30 different groups took part, including BARB, Burnham RNLI, HM Coastguard, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Somerset Fire and Rescue, and the ambulance service.

Other groups taking part included Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance, Burnham lifeguards, Freewheeler Blood Bikes, Wessex 4 x 4 Response, Mendip Cave Rescue, Avon and Somerset Cliff Rescue, Exmoor Search and Rescue, Marine Life Rescue, British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service, Civil Contingencies and Weston Radio Club.

Vehicles, crews and supporters from each service were on hand to provide safety advice, while life-saving demonstrations took place in the sea and on the beach.

The displays featured hovercrafts, a simulated dolphin rescue by Marine Life Rescue, a lifeguards rescue, lifeboat exercises, a Coastguard mud rescue and a visit by an RAF helicopter.

The Lucy Gunter Dance and Theatre Group also put on a special dance performance, which was enjoyed by the crowds.

But the wet weather took its toll on several events later in the day, with a planned flypast of light aircraft by Skywatch Microlights, an RNLI drift exercise, and a tug-of-war all cancelled.

Event organiser Roger Flower from BARB, which oversees the event, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “This year’s event was again successful despite some poor weather. We had a good number of visitors and it was great to have the support of over 30 participating groups from across the South West.”

Big crowds lined the seafront to watch the demonstrations on the beach

The RNLI’s lifeboats came to the rescue of a crewman ‘in difficulty’ in the bay

Burnham Coastguards welcomed MCA Chief Executive Sir Alan Massey, who visited the event

MCA Chief Executive Sir Alan Massey enjoyed a flight in the Burnham’s hovercraft

Burnham RNLI’s lifeboat crew performed several rescue exercises during the day

A simulated dolphin rescue was performed by Marine Life Rescue

BARB’s hovercraft crew took part in several rescue demonstrations

Police gave young visitors to the show a chance to dress up just like an officer

Coastguards performed a mud rescue exercise on Burnham beach

An RAF helicopter from Devon made a surprise visit during the afternoon

Burnham RNLI’s fundraisers were busy throughout the day

South West Ambulance crews were on hand to show their medical expertise

BARB’s Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft performed several flights along the beach

A wide range of stalls and displays were set up along the seafront

Wessex 4×4 was one of the many groups attending this year’s event

Burnham-On-Sea fire brigade were on hand to offer fire safety advice

The Freewheelers blood bikes team showed their life-saving machines

Staff from Asda in Highbridge joined in the fundraising for BARB

BARB’s new inshore rescue boat was formally toasted and unveiled

Young members of the Bird family celebrated winning the name the bear contest

MP Tessa Munt joined in the fundraising fun by throwing a wet sponge at local councillor Joe Leach – all in the name of charity!

Burnham Round Table and RNLI fundraiser Tim Walters gave Joe a good soaking!

Next in the stocks was Burnham Round Table Nick Tolley

BARB Chairman Mark Newman presented a bouquet of flowers to Caroline Hall, mother of the late Lelaina Hall, whom BARB’s main hovercraft is named after. Also pictured is Lelaina’s sister Elizabeth, whom BARB’s second hovercraft is named after

The seafront lawns were busy with a range of boats, police cars and vehicles

Young Izzy Croker presented Burnham’s Mayoress with a bouquet of flowers at the opening ceremony, supplied by Flowers and Things of Victoria Street

Burnham’s MP was also presented with a bouquet during the opening ceremony

The Lucy Gunter Dance and Theatre Group also put on a special dance performance