SARA’s new lifeboat takes part in the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant

Posted in News, Sharpness on July 25th, 2012 by Be the first to comment

0530 on Sunday the 3rd June 2012, and the lights came on at SARA Sharpness Lifeboat Station, Coxswains Geoff Dawe and Alan Palmer, along with crew members, Nick Cresswell and Deryck Pritchard had arrived on station to take the new SARA Sharpness Lifeboat, the ‘Dave Moore’ to London to join the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant.

Setting of with a latest arrival time London, of 0800, it was best safe speed to the capitol.

Arriving in London and heading toward the Thames became a battle of wits, as all roads to the Embankment had been closed for the event by the Police. Frantic phone calls from our colleagues in Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service, who were joining us on the Dave Moore for the event, and who were waiting for us at Lambeth River Fire Station, added to the frustration of being unable to to get to our launch site alongside the MI6 Building.

Finally, at 0805, we were there, a quick recce of the slipway and the Land Rover was pushing the lifeboat into the murky Thames.

A short run down the Thames saw us raft up alongside the Thames Fire Boat the ‘Firehawk’ and quickly on to the Fire Station pontoon. Then straight into the briefing room where the detail of our passage to follow HM The Queen’s Barge was worked through in detail.

We then took the ‘Dave Moore to the marshalling area some miles up the Thames at Barnes Reach, arriving at 0930. Plenty of vessels around, so we rafted up to and I requested permission to board a large charity vessel, skippered by an ex member of the Royal Navy, I achieved my goal by blagging a cup of tea and a comfy seat. There I set about completing our passage plan, a pro forma document supplied by the Port of London Authority, which detailed tidal information, depths, air draughts and details of all of the bridges we were to pass under and the unique part of the structure which we were to use, based upon draught, air draught and Pageant position. All of our information worked out and entered in the plan, we then fixed on the Pageant Pennant and we were ready to go.

There we stayed till 1430 when we were requested to take our position in the Pageant, slightly before which, we watched a fantastic array of rowing boats pass us, centred by a Mouri canoe with the regulation yelling of her crew as they struck such a uniform stroke with their paddles. These rowing boats were to lead the Pageant. What a sight, every type of rowing boat, crewed by all ages and brightly coloured, were spectacular, and for me, apart from Her Majesty, was the best part of the Pageant.

Then off we set at a 3 knot pace to maintain our unique position in the Pageant. What a fantastic sight, buildings, embankment, trees, parks, decorated brightly with flags, yelling crowds, beautifully dressed moored craft, music, big screens following the Queen ahead of us, made the atmosphere quite surreal and very special.

And then it started to rain, torrents which continued to fall for the rest of the day. Not for one minute did it detract from the special feeling on the water. And then, ahead of us to Port, was H.M The Queen’s Barge, resplendent with gold crafting around her gunwales, red carpet all over the decks, huge floral displays and the pageantry of the Her Majesty’s attendants standing rigidly to attention. Then we were passing Her Majesty, The Duke of Edinburgh and other  members of the Royal Family. A sight never to be forgotten.

We were tasked to continue on to allow all 1000 craft to pass the Royal Barge and thus allow the Thames to be re-opened. Approaching Tower Bridge, it appeared out of the torrential rain and mist as a huge ghostly image. Here the official route of the Pageant ended. However for us, it was keep going, past all of the London and Thames sights, past the Millennium Dome, West India Docks and almost down to the Thames Barrier, at which point we were permitted to heave to, and wait until the PLA re opened the Thames, it was now 1900.

Eventually we were cleared to go, a slow run back to Lambeth Fire Station to drop off our two colleagues from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, and we were headed back to the slipway to recover the Dave Moore.

2100 and we were out of the Thames, and then the journey back to the Lifeboat Station. 0115 saw us back at Sharpness after a long, tiring but hugely memorable day.

Geoff Dawe

MAD make a ‘medical’ difference!

Posted in Donation, News, Tewkesbury on July 14th, 2012 by Be the first to comment

SARA Tewkesbury have recently taken delivery of a new medical rucksack kindly donated by Apprentices are MAD (Making a Difference), a charity with links to motor industry apprenticeship programme. The Charity recently completed the three peeks challenge. Angie Lowes chairman of the Charity said “We are very happy to support SARA in the work they do”.

The medical rucksack will be filled with all the necessary equipment to carry out casualty care in remote places and is the part of increasing the medical skill and capacity of SARA Tewksbury. Two team members have already taken part in the Mountain Rescue Trauma Care Conference held at Edale Mountain Rescue Team earlier this year.

We would like to thank MAD for this extremely useful donation, the bag is already kitted up and on-board MRU3, ready for use at any time transporting key medical supplies.

Roadsign Theft Could Cost Lives

Posted in News on April 19th, 2012 by Be the first to comment

In the early hours of 10th April two road signs were stolen from the top of the Old Ferry slipway at Beachley, Chepstow.

“We know the dark hatchback turned up at the slipway at 05:19 am. Our infra-red CCTV surveillance system clearly shows the two men pulling the signs from their mounting,” said Mervyn Fleming, Chairman of Beachley Lifeboat and Rescue Station. “Gloucestershire police have been given a description of the vehicle and occupants but unfortunately there will be a delay while we send the tape off for enhancement before the car’s number-plate can be clearly read… unfortunately for the thieves, the signs are made from plastic composite and worth absolutely nothing as scrap: there is a sticker on the back of each sign explaining this. The men had a torch so they should have read the stickers and saved everyone a lot of trouble”

The two road signs warned motorists on Beachley road that they were approaching a harbour side with a dangerous drop onto the beach.

It is hoped that the Forest of Dean Highways Department will replace the signs as a matter of urgency.

“Over the years several vehicles have overshot the roadway and plunged into the swift-flowing estuary,” said Mr Fleming, “only last year the lifeboat was launched to the rescue of a driver trapped in a car which was swept away by the tide.

These signs are of particular importance to visitors and tourists who are unfamiliar with the road… lives could be lost through this act of vandalism.”

SARA Tewkesbury show support for Daisychain Shops

Posted in Fundraising, News, Tewkesbury on April 17th, 2012 by Be the first to comment

SARA Tewkesbury show support for Daisy Chain ShopsAs part of our ongoing partnership with Daisychain Benevolent Fund, crew from Tewkesbury Station have pledged to help out over two busy weekends this summer in Evesham. Crew will be on hand to help staff during busy periods and offer water safety advice to locals, as well as explaining the work SARA does in the local area.

The Daisychain Shop on Bridge Street has two annual busy summer weekends – Evesham River Festival (6th-8th July) and Evesham Festival (25th-27th August), a three-day fishing event.

Crew have also been collecting reuseable goods and have started donating these to Daisychain for processing and sale to raise money for the charitable causes Daisychain supports. SARA was named as one of their main charities for 2012/2013 with their local focus being key to this.

Station Manager at Tewkesbury, Tom Keeling said:

“We are thrilled Daisychain Benevolent Fund has chosen SARA to be a main charity for next year. We are keen to help out with their activities as much as we can, and the whole crew has got behind this by offering time or donating goods. The service our volunteer crews provide benefits all the communities in our local area, something that is at the very heart of Daisychain’s aims.”

Wyre Forest Rescue Station and Tewkesbury Rescue Station are looking for the donation of items that can be sold by DCBF in its shops – either contact your local station to arrange delivery/collection or take directly to any DCBF shop, telling the staff “SARA sent you!”

The items they are always looking for include:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Bric-a-brac
  • Books
  • CDs, DVDs, etc
  • And more!

Keep your eyes peeled on our news feed for details of when and where SARA crew will be appearing at DCBF shops and events!

For further information on Daisychain visit:

Inter-agency flood response @ Lydney

Posted in Beachley, News, Sharpness, Tewkesbury on April 11th, 2012 by Be the first to comment

SARA were among those who took part in a three-day training exercise at Lydney.

The location of the town near the Severn estuary and the River Lyd makes it flood risk area, and an ideal location for the inter-agency exercise.

SARA joined police, fire, ambulance and other volunteer groups at the end of March for the three day flood response exercise.

Our teams worked alongside a number of other agencies including:

  • Gloucestershire Police
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Great Western Ambulance Service

See more on the BBC website.