Drama occurred during Prince Edward’s visit to Burnham-On-Sea’s rescue hovercraft station on Friday (April 24th) when crews were called out to an actual incident on the mudflats at Brean.
The Earl Of Wessex was visiting the seafront headquarters of BARB to mark the fifth anniversary of the Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft going into service.
After meeting crewmembers of BARB and Burnham Coastguards, an emergency call came in from Brean’s beachwarden after he spotted two people in difficulty in the mud – more here.
Prince Edward was on the jetty at the time, watching a training exercise involving the Light Of Elizabeth hovercraft, when the crew of The Spirit of Lelaina and Coastguards rushed to Brean.
Earlier, the Earl Of Wessex had landed in a helicopter at the BAY Centre where he met Chairman Julia Elswood, Vice Chairman Mike Lang and treasurer Paul Taylor.
The Prince was met at the hovercraft station by a group of civic dignitaries, including Burnham-On-Sea’s Mayor Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and Mayoress Jo Burridge-Clayton, plus Sedgemoor District Council’s Chairman Cllr Dennis Davey and his wife Janet.
A group of more than 130 schoolchildren from St Joseph’s School were also on hand to cheer on the VIP guest on the seafront.
The Prince met BARB’s President Neville Jones and Chairman Mark Newman, along with volunteer crewmembers.
He heard about the work of The Spirit Of Lelaina, which is named after five-year-old Lelaina Hall who died on the mudflats in 2002.
He also met Caroline Hall, mother of little Lelaina, and her family (pictured right).
The Earl also visited Burnham Coastguard station, where he heard about the positive impact the hovercrafts have had in speeding up rescues on the mudflats.
A special plaque was unveiled outside the hovercraft station before he walked onto the seafront to watch the training exercise.
The two people at the centre of Brean’s incident on the mudflats managed to escape without injury after being briefly stranded in the mud besides the Down while on a fishing trip.
The Prince with BARB President Neville Jones and Chairman Mark Newman during Friday’s visit to Burnham hovercraft station
Over 100 schoolchildren from St Joseph’s School met the Prince on the seafront
The Prince was introduced to Burnham-On-Sea’s Mayor Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and Mayoress Jo Burridge-Clayton
Prince Edward also met Sedgemoor District Council’s Chairman Cllr Dennis Davey and his wife Janet
BBC Online coverage of Prince Edward’s visit [External link]