Gosport and Fareham rescuers need help to pay for their new kit

RESCUERS Crewmen Jonathan Last, left, and Ian Wilson, need help with their kit    (101398-98)
RESCUERS Crewmen Jonathan Last, left, and Ian Wilson, need help with their kit (101398-98)

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

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LIFE-SAVING sea rescue volunteers are looking for sponsors to help pay for their protective gear.

Crew members at the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS), in Stokes Bay, use dry suits to keep themselves safe and warm at sea when on dangerous rescue missions.

Members of the lifeboat crew pay for the suits themselves but with many of them coming to the end of their usable life, the volunteers are looking for people to sponsor them a new suit.

The crew needs 24 new suits, which cost around £200 each.

Coxswain Mike Allen said: ‘It’s been a need for a number of years now but a number of things have taken precedence.

‘It’s very difficult to secure funding.

‘The lifeboat service provides helmets and lifejackets for our crew.

‘But the dry suits offer protection and the crew wear their dry suits to protect them on the boat.

‘It’s not something we can do within our general funds.

‘There might be organisations willing to pay for our entire crew but individual sponsors would be good too.

‘If someone wanted to sponsor one member of our crew that would be brilliant and pay for their suit.’

GAFIRS says businesses who sponsor crew members could have their logos stitched onto the new suits.

They could also be added to the crew’s new website.

‘Part of the whole GAFIRS’ ethos is teamwork which is why we want everyone to have the same suit, sort of like a uniform, rather than everybody buying their own different suits,’ added Mr Allen.

‘Our volunteers give up an awful lot and it would be great if we could find enough people to help them out.’

The GAFIRS crew are hoping to be in with a chance of winning a funding boost from the Natwest Community Force fund.

People were encouraged to vote for the lifeboat station in an online competition.

The results will be announced later this month.

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.

To find out how you can donate and help sponsor a dry suit, call fundraising officer Joyce Thomas on 07017 031 017.

Alternatively you can visit the GAFIRS website at gafirs.org.uk.