The Council sold the Coastwatch building for £54,000 – I have no idea where they spent that windfall. The Coastwatch now need to raise £60,000 for a new building. The words “insult” and “injury” spring to mind.
Plea to save coastwatch’s “eyes and ears” service
Lookouts at Herne Bay’s only coastwatch tower have set up a fundraising scheme to stop it going under. The Friends of NCI (National Coastwatch Institution) Herne Bay initiative hope to provide financial support to the building on the Esplanade, which faces closure after its lease expires in October 2010*. It would mean the town losing the eyes and ears of 24 trained lookouts who keep a watch on the coast every weekend. The new scheme, costing members £3 a month or £60 for a life-time membership, will support the tower’s bid to raise £60,000 for a new building just 200 yards away.
Other fundraisers this month – a collection at Sainsbury’s in Westwood Cross and a quiz night in Beltinge – helped add £800 to the cause. Watchkeeper Bob Eslea, 70, said:
“It is essential Herne Bay has a watch station. The coastguard can’t spot a child on a dinghy being swept out to sea, or a swimmer in trouble in strong tides. They can’t watch over small fishing boats, jet-bikes and yachts without radar reflectors, and they can’t see the paragliders who launch from the cliffs off Reculver. There’s also a chance they could miss mayday calls made on the wrong radio frequency – calls we may pick up when monitoring the channels.”
Friends of the new scheme will receive a welcome pack and quarterly newsletter about the progress and developments at the watch station. For more details about joining the scheme email email@example.com or visit www.baywatch-hernebay.blogspot.com
HB Gazette 27th May 2010
* The new landlords have generously agreed to extend the lease for another year so the Coastwatch now have until October 2011 to establish themselves in new premises.