Lifeboat team powers towards a new future
By The Bristol Post | Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 05:00
WORK on building Portishead's new £1.5 million lifeboat station is to start next month.
A spectacular picture taken by one of the Portishead RNLI crew members of the team in action. Work on a new base for Portishead's lifeboat is to get under way next month.
RNLI chiefs revealed this week that work to start demolishing the former Masonic Lodge, at Pier Road, will start at the end of November.
Once the dilapidated building – the former home of Eldon Lodge – is demolished, work on constructing the new lifeboat station will start with the hope it will be completed by November 2014.
News that work on the project is to get under way comes at the same time as Portishead Town Council awarded a grant of £30,000 towards the project. The money will go to the RNLI's Bristol Channel Fundraising Appeal to raise £180,000 towards the cost of the new station.
The appeal, which was launched in January, had already raised £72,000 thanks to fundraising, events, grants and donations.
The new building will feature modern changing facilities for crew-members, and a multi-purpose crew room for operational planning, local training and meetings. Toilets, a small workshop and store area, and a souvenir sales point will also be included in the development.
A new 65m ramp, from which the boat will launch, will also be built.
RNLI trustees have already agreed, in principle, to pursue the adoption of the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat from the Portishead Lifeboat Trust.
The Portishead lifeboat has been based at Sugar Loaf Beach since 1996. But the facilities are no longer suitable.
Trust chairman John Gittings said: "This grant will make a fantastic difference to the appeal and takes us over the £100,000 mark. The town council has always been a fantastic supporter of the lifeboat trust.
"We have a number of events planned over the coming months which we hope will enable us to hit our target of £180,000."
The Portishead Lifeboat Trust was launched in 1996 after the Portishead Yacht and Sailing Club suspended its service after 25 years. The feeling in the local community was that the area still needed a sea-rescue service and, after a campaign, volunteers established the trust.
Since the trust's formation the lifeboat, which is manned by volunteers, has assisted 465 people.