RNLI could be in town next year

THE PORTISHEAD Lifeboat could be taken under the wing of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as soon as 2012.

Trustees of the Portishead service met with RNLI officials last week to discuss plans for the future.

RNLI spokesman Tamsin Thomas said: “The RNLI will adopt the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat as soon as a secure and suitable operational home can be found, which we hope will be in the very near future.”

Volunteers from the Portishead crew recently took part in beach launching trials near Portishead Pier, working alongside members of the RNLI.

Tamsin added: “The trials went remarkably well and we are confident that we will be able to work with the Portishead crew to establish the facilities they deserve.”

The area close to the Masonic Lodge in Pier Road is currently being investigated as a possible site which could incorporate the old building in the plans.

Members of the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat Trust have been looking at ways to upgrade facilities at their Sugar Loaf Bay station for some time and say adoption of the service by the RNLI could provide the ideal way forward for them.

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Trust chairman John McCorquodale said: “This is an exciting time for us, but we must make it quite clear that this is not a time to take our foot off the accelerator and slow down on fundraising for the facility.”

Under the RNLI the Portishead Lifeboat would benefit from a wider support network but it would still be manned by local volunteers and need local fundraising to keep it in operation.

Mr McCorquodale added: “This will remain a community-based organisation under the umbrella of the RNLI and as a result will still rely heavily on the support of local people.”