Today is Friday, August 12, 2022

Brightlingsea RNLI fundraisers are an enthusiastic bunch

While Brightlingsea may not have a RNLI lifeboat of its own, that hasn’t stopped it playing an important part in the charity’s ability to save lives on the Essex coast.

Not only is the harbour a safe port of call for those being rescued, it has also been a safe anchorage for the lifeboats of Clacton, following services in conditions too dangerous to rehouse at Clacton, and shelter has been sought in Brightlingsea Harbour to wait out the storm.

For a short period during WWII after returning from Dunkirk, Clacton RNLI’s lifeboat, Edward Z Dresden, was stationed at Brightlingsea, after the centre of Clacton Pier was blown up preventing access to the boathouse. In fact it was blown up twice - firstly, by a drifting mine and then as an anti-invasion measure, preventing the pier’s use in any possible invasion.

The current Brightlingsea branch was formed in 1980 and boasts an enthusiastic group of 11, which sees them attending different events throughout the year, including The Brightlingsea Regatta, Brightlingsea Classic Car Show, and even the Brightlingsea Christmas Market, which Catherine Chick, the branch press officer, recalls as: "Always interesting for our hardy volunteers braving the weather, and finding innovative ways of anchoring the gazebo to various lamp posts, but very rewarding with the support we receive. The Blessing of the waters, which is an event particular to our area as we are part of the Cinque Ports, is another important event for us.’"

There are events solely organised by the branch, including the ever-popular annual Fish Pie Supper and ‘Call my Bluff’ wine evening, along with the growing popularity of Betty’s Pots being found in handbags and shops throughout the town – these are small condiment jars used for collecting 5p coins. The dedicated team are already planning for the end of coronavirus restrictions with Flag Day in August and a fish and chip night in October.

With the ever-present support of The Motley Crew, a local group that sing sea shanties at various venues, this small group of dedicated volunteers in the last eight years have, with the generosity of the local community, raised £59,622, the equivalent to 35 inshore lifeboat volunteers being provided with full personal protective equipment, ensuring their safety while saving lives at sea.

If you would like to join this dedicated and enthusiastic group of volunteers, please email the branch secretary, Susie Wills at [email protected]

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