Volunteers thanked for charity work

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VOLUNTEERS from various sea rescue charities were thanked for the hard work they do to keep people safe.

Gosport Mayor Councillor Richard Dickson extended his thanks at a meeting held in Gosport Town Hall.

Representatives from different RNLI groups, HM Coastguard and the Solent Sea Rescue Organisation (SSRO), were at the meeting.

Figures from the SSRO show that last year, Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service members gave 4,000 free hours to help keep the seas safe.

Volunteers assisted 145 people, and went out on 84 operations – and Portsmouth Lifeguards gave up 4,000 hours too.

The organisation helped 84 people during that time and was called in to action by the coast uard 14 times.

At Saturday’s event, Cllr Dickson said: ‘We are very proud of you all.

‘Gosport is not quite an island, but water surrounds us quite a bit.

‘You are all volunteers and you keep our waters safe.

‘It is a testament to what you do, to your expertise and dedication to keep our waters safe. We know from the number of accidents you go out to how well you work.

‘This is what we’re all so pleased about, so thank you.’

The message was echoed by Councillor Peter Edgar, from Hampshire County Council and Gosport Borough Council, who is also the chairman of the SSRO.

He said: ‘All these different volunteers come together, in their own time, to help people.

‘I want to thank them for what they do.’

The messages were given ahead of an annual operational meeting.

Members were updated on the progress of a new national coastguard centre, which is being set up in Segensworth, near Fareham.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) took possession of the building at Kite’s Croft last year.

As previously reported in The News, the centre is expected to be fully operational by 2014 and will have 96 staff.

The MCA’s base at HMS Daedalus will become a training site.

Hilary Durkan, sector manager for the MCA, said: ‘The Solent site is due to close next March.

‘No others will close until the new centre opens.’