Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service life-savers get new protective gear

LOOKING GOOD Back, from left, Dave Balcombe, Joe Wallington, Chris Rudd, and Ian Wilson. Front, from left, Alice Morris, Pete Byford, Kev Newman, Mike Allen in their new dry suits
LOOKING GOOD Back, from left, Dave Balcombe, Joe Wallington, Chris Rudd, and Ian Wilson. Front, from left, Alice Morris, Pete Byford, Kev Newman, Mike Allen in their new dry suits
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KITTED out in state-of-the-art dry suits, these life-savers are ready for anything.

Crew members at the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs) can finally get into their new protective gear after generous donations from readers of The News.

Members of the independent lifeboat service, based at Stokes Bay in Gosport, appealed for donations after their protective dry suits were nearing the end of their usable life.

The suits keep the lifeboat crews safe and warm when at sea on dangerous rescue missions.

As reported in The News, they needed 24 replacement suits at a cost of around £200 each.

Now thanks to donations – and a funding boost from Natwest bank – the crews are all kitted out in their new gear.

The operational vice chairman of Gafirs, Mike Allen, said: ‘The level of support we received from both the community fund and the public is just fantastic.

‘Thanks to the support of the Natwest community fund and donations from News readers, the volunteer lifeboat crews now have their much-needed replacement dry suits.

‘We have been able to reward our dedicated crews who give so much of their time freely and willingly, with what we consider to be one of the best dry suits available.

‘Each crew member was individually measured for their dry suit which was made by Northern Divers.

‘The suits provide personal protection against the elements of the Solent.

‘Previously each volunteer crew had to purchase their own dry suit.’

Gafirs has been able to buy a new dry suit for each of its 24 crew members.

They still need to buy more protective equipment and equipment to help with training.

And currently their trainee lifeboat crew still have to purchase their own dry suit before they can start their water borne training.

Gafirs provides beach and kayak lifeguards and emergency lifeboat cover to the coastguard.

Its crews have been called to 50 emergencies in the Solent so far this year.

If you want to donate, visit gafirs.org.uk.