Storm-Flood-Children-Rescue-Pirate-Ship-Sinking-TV-host—all-in-a-days-work

Byline: Yesterdays storm caused havoc in New Brighton with extensive flooding to many properties at Marine Point including the lifeboat station and also the scene of a most unusual and unexpected rescue of a group of 9 children aged 5 and below.
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Byline: Yesterdays storm caused havoc in New Brighton with extensive flooding to many properties at Marine Point including the lifeboat station and also the scene of a most unusual and unexpected rescue of a group of 9 children aged 5 and below.
Page Content: The spring tide combined with gale force winds caused the breach of the sea defences and flooded New Brighton lifeboat station and surrounding area. The roads were hazardous and impassable to most vehicles and it was important that we checked out whether our hovercraft station at Harrison Drive had also been flooded. To get there the lifeboat and tractor rig provided the appropriate means and was crewed by Ian Thornton, Mike Plaskett and Mike Jones. Fortunately all was dry there but returning along the promenade and passing 'Bubbles' World of Play, which was surrounded by water, the crew checked on whether anyone was stuck. An initially fearful group of about 9 tots and their parents, staff and prams were taken on board the lifeboat and transported to dry land. During this most unusual and unexpected journey the initially fearful children became delighted with their new adventure.

The lifeboat station and shop have been flooded in the past, the worst time in 1990. Today's storm set a new record with the water being up to knee height and it came in very rapidly within 2 minutes. It has caused considerable damage to crew kit and equipment plus vital stock in the shop for the run up to Christmas.

At the floods height helmsman Mike Plaskett helped people cross the flooded road safely in the almost waist height water.

Meanwhile further down the coast and unaware at the time that the station had been flooded our press officer Bob Warwick was photographing the demise of our famous pirate ship 'Black Pearl'. This had been built on the shore from driftwood and all sorts of donated materials and had become a very popular tourist attraction. Although she put up a stalwart fight the massive seas overcame her and she finally broke up and was washed away. Along with the loss of the ship he reported that it was sad to see its two resident rodents clinging to the mast to escape the seas and were no doubt drowned when it broke up.

Our volunteers spent the day clearing up the mess which had affected the whole of the station and late afternoon saw the arrival of a a BBC Northwest Tonight outside broadcast team who were covering the effects of the storm in New Brighton. They found a welcome base at the lifeboat station and with the some of the electrics still working, very welcome tea and coffee was provided.

Now temporarily based in the lifeboat station and headed up by chief reporter Dave Guest the outside broadcast for the BBC 6:30pm news covered the days storm effects in New Brighton and the North West. He interviewed DLA Ian Thornton about the earlier rescue and the impact on the station while the station clean up carried on in the background.

Ian Thornton, Deputy Launch Authority and in charge of the lifeboat station at the time commented ' The children enjoyed their unexpected ride, unfortunately the parents and staffs cars were stuck in the flooded car park. I have not seen such conditions here, it was worse than 1990. Fortunately we were not called out for any rescue at sea as launching in these conditions would have been life threatening to our crew. The lifeboat station is a mess and will take a while and considerable expense to sort it out. However I must reassure the public that we are still fully operational and as usual we take setbacks like this in our stride.'

Lifeboat station chairman Tony Jones commented ' Everybody at the station worked their socks off after the flooding to get us back on track. It is a tribute to the outstanding leadership, dedication and professionalism of our team.'

There was a danger that the high tide at around midnight would see further flooding and several crew volunteered to be in attendance at the station, fortunately the wind dropped and there was no further flooding.

END

Notes to Editors
In January the station celebrated its 150th Anniversary during which time they have saved 1235 lives. Station website: http://www.newbrightonlifeboat.org.uk/

RNLI Media Contacts
For more information please contact Bob Warwick, RNLI New Brighton Volunteer Press Officer on mobile 0784 765 8922 - email bob.warwick@ntlworld.com or Alison Levett, RNLI Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668912