Seafarers around St Agnes Head will soon be able to sally forth into the waters with more confidence, safe in the knowledge that the local National Coastwatch Unit has them covered on a brand new radar system thanks to a £2700 donation from the St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust.
The St Agnes NC group is just one of around 50 coastal lookouts throughout England and Wales forming part of the National Coastwatch Institution charity. Over 2000 members give up their time freely to the organisation to ensure safety around our inshore waters and coastal land areas and help the emergency services to respond more swiftly to incidents and accidents along the shoreline.
All lookouts are responsible for raising their own funds to operate and purchase equipment as the charity does not receive any central funding. The lookout is leased from the National Trust and relies on batteries to power the equipment which operates the essential service 365 days a year from 08:00hrs to 20:00hrs during the summertime and 08:00hrs to 17:00hrs during the winter.
The existing radar equipment at the unit, at nearly 25 years old, has reached the end of its effective life and while a grant from IBM and their own funds had enabled the St Agnes NC members to get part of the way towards purchasing new equipment, the donation of the outstanding £2700 from St Austell Brewery was an unexpected surprise, as unit leader Philip Ashman explained.
“We were thrilled to hear from the Brewery that they were happy to make up the shortfall and allow us to purchase this essential equipment. It really does bring us right up to date technology-wise and means we can provide a far more effective, wider watch over those enjoying the waters around our part of the coastline.”
The cheque was presented by the Charitable Trust’s Donations Committee chair Micci Cooper at the Brewery’s Victoria Inn at Threemilestone, which has for many years generously provided a ‘home’ for the Coastwatch Unit to hold their regular meetings and AGMs.
Brewery sales director and Charitable Trust board member Ian Blunt commented, “This is exactly the kind of project that our Trust was set up to support. The NC at St Agnes is an organisation that provides an invaluable service for free to both local people and visitors to our beautiful countryside, so we were delighted to be able to help them to improve this service to make our coastal waters even safer.”
The new radar equipment ensures enhanced cover of the local waters for 2016. For more information about the work of the NCI charity, contact www.nci.org.uk. If you are a local charitable organisation looking to fund specific works, or you know of an individual in need, please contact the St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust in writing. Details are available at www.staustellbrewery.co.uk.