Lifeguards get new base and need your help

Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguards have relocated their Open Water Base to The Stade and are appealing for new volunteers to join them and help make the coastline a safer place.

The new Open Water Base consists of a 40ft container and is situated alongside East Hastings Sea Angling Association (EHSAA).

The base is home to registered charity Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguards (HLG) new rescue boat - a replacement last year to the previous boat at a cost of £20,000. It also houses HLG’s training boat and all rescue and open water equipment.

Club secretary Di Cooke says it is a new chapter in the club’s history. She said: “Hastings Lifeguards was founded in October 1972 and was the idea of ex-policeman, Trefor Simmonds. He approached a number of local organisations, aquatic clubs and blue light services, the local authority and councillors, who subsequently approved the idea and formed a steering committee.

“The club’s initial patrolling base was under the promenade at Warrior Square, St Leonards. Indeed we ‘lived’ under the promenade for over 30 years but did move next door for a while.

“This sounds great, and it was after our first base, but it always had the disadvantage of being underground.

“Unfortunately work to install a cycle way on the top of the promenade rendered our HQ very unsuitable as water penetrated through the promenade and ran into our base causing damage to equipment and electrics.”

Along with the new Open Water Base HLG has affiliated all current members so they can use EHSAA clubhouse for social purposes.

Di said with the busy summer season on the horizon HLG are appealing for new volunteers. She added: “Open water training will start as soon as the weather gets warmer and we are looking forward to new patrolling areas and new activities for all our club members to be involved with.”

The club welcomes members from eight years up. Di said: “We are a proactive group whose aim is to prevent accidents. We teach water safety and rescue skills and members can progress up to life guard services.

“We now provide beach patrols in the summer season from the club’s base. The move has provided a new focus and enthusiasm and is an exiting turning point for the club as it can utilise the excellent facilities at the club.

“Our club has an enthusiastic group who cover a variety of open water events in the area including sea swims, triathlons, rowing regattas and safety in action for local school children.”

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