RNLI looks to take on Masonic Lodge

PLANS to transform an old Masonic Lodge in Portishead into a new lifeboat station have moved a step closer.

In 2011 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) agreed in principal to take the Portishead Lifeboat under its wing if a suitable operational home could be found.

Beach launching trials near the Masonic Lodge in Pier Road proved positive and it has now been confirmed that an RLNI offer to purchase the 1860s building from the Masons has been verbally agreed.

A RNLI spokesman said: “We are pleased that the negotiations with the Masons have been so positive but there is still a way to go before any formal adoption of The Portishead Lifeboat Trust can proceed.

“We are keen not to pre-empt any outcome to the negotiations.”

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Other landowners near the site will now be consulted.

The spokesman added: “We are unable to proceed with the adoption of the Portishead Lifeboat until the operations site has been formally secured and the necessary shore facilities have been put in place to enable a lifeboat, her volunteer crew and the relevant launching equipment to operate safely and effectively.”

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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 running.

Portishead Lifeboat Trust chairman John McCorquodale said: “Even under the RNLI the Portishead Lifeboat his will remain a community based organisation and will still rely heavily on the support of local people to keep it operational.”

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