Ditch flares to help the RNLI

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AS Christmas and New Year celebrations are upon us spare a thought for our volunteer lifeboat crews and their families that also want to enjoy the festivities.

There are not so many yachtsmen sailing in these wintry conditions however the lifeboat crews will still have their pagers switched on to respond to emergency callouts. Last year the RNLI had 106 launches during the festive period, 59 per cent of which were in the dark which brings its own dangers coupled with the cold.

One way we can help to reduce the false callouts is to not send up flares to celebrate. This is particularly important if you live near the coast as a well-meaning member of the public may well report the flare to the coastguards; the lifeboat would be bound to respond putting the voluntary crew to unnecessary risk.

It is not only flares and fireworks but Chinese lanterns and these can be blown from inland over the coast and out to sea giving the impression of a red parachute distress flare.

I’m sure all your readers will join me in wishing these brave volunteer crews a relaxing and peaceful festive season and our sincere thanks for their efforts throughout the year.

TONY SMITH

Brownbread Stud,

Ashburnham