17th March 2024 – Indoor meeting, Botesdale

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We had a talk on our charity for this year – The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), by Peter Lawrence. Peter’s wife Linda got involved with the National Coastwatch about 10 years ago and is now a trustee and station manager around the East Coast. Peter’s talk entitled ‘Eyes along the Coast’ (which is the NCI’s logo) includes how they were set up following the closure of the Coastguard stations in 1994. A station had been closed at Bass Point when a couple of weeks later two fishermen were drowned off the Cornish Coast. This prompted locals to petition for the setting up of some kind of volunteer led visual watch along the coast.

Princess Anne is the patron of the NCI and frequently makes visits to meet volunteers around the region. The cost of running a station is £3000 per year and they each have to fundraise towards their costs. Peter asked that when we donate our final total to them if it could be paid to the Cromer station. There are six stations in Norfolk and Suffolk with the only Suffolk station housed in the Martello tower at Felixstowe. In total around England and Wales there are 60 stations. For more information visit their website at www.nci.org.uk.

Peter also told us that when he was a trainee policeman he owned a 1962 2 door saloon, which was his first car. He said that he thought we might like to have had his talk on Police cars which would include the Panda cars. We said this would be something we might like in the future.

Members added their names to the lists of events we are going to this year, and there are lots of them. We held a football card and the winner of £10 was Al Chapman and we had £30 towards our total. With the refreshment money, a further £24, the total raised was £54. We had received a letter of thanks from Upbeat, our charity for 2023, for our donation of £600. Many thanks to our very generous members.

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