The sound of sirens could be heard across Littlestone last Sunday morning (1st September) when the Littlestone Lifeboat station held their annual emergency services day at their base and at the adjoining Varne Boat Club.
With five different Lifeboats on display including those from adjoining stations Dover, Dungeness and Rye the public were treated to a display of a wide range of lifeboats, ranging from the impressive £2 million City of London 11 from Dover, which was not only the largest boat in the fleet but also carried a Y class boat, the smallest boat in the fleet.
Immediate neighbours Dungeness showed of the amazing versatility of their Shannon Class boat driven by water jets and demonstrated an ‘emergency stop’ from 27 knots (about 32 mph) to standstill in its own boat length. Again this state of the art boat costs around £2.5 million each and is paid for entirely by volunteer contributions and donations from individuals and companies.
The other lifeboat on display was the Rye Lifeboat Atlantic 85 called Hello Herbie 11, which was of specific interest to the Crew at Littlestone, as it is the same class of lifeboat the station should be receiving from the RNLI in the next few months.IMG_6490
Throughout the day members of the public had a running commentary by Matt Crittenden, who used his knowledge and sense of humour to not only, give out all the necessary facts and figures, but kept the audience amused as well.
As well as Lifeboats a Dover Pilot Rib was also in attendance and the local Air Sea Rescue Agusta Westland AW139 helicopter performing a number of flyby’s.
However there may have been a lot of action on the sea, but even more was going on in and around the lifeboat station, with all of the emergency services being represented along with stalls all doing a brisk trade in the warm summer sunshine.
The Littlestone car park had been given a special dispensation for the day allowing visitors to park free of charge for the duration of the service day.
One of the highlights was the recovery of the two volunteer Crew Josh Speirs and Wayne Black who had spent a rather uncomfortable 24 hours at sea in a 4 man life raft, all in order to raise funds and awareness for the RNLI and sea safety.
At the time of going to press we do not yet know the amount raised, but with what appeared to be record numbers, everyone had a great time for a very worthy charity.
The event must take a lot of organising and has been a different take on most of the ‘normal’ lifeboat station open days and the Looker thinks that this was a great display of different emergency services that work tirelessly 24 hours per day 365 days of the year.