Villagers salute coastguard team for lockdown support work
- Credit: Beer Coastguard
Beer’s hard-working coastguards have been recognised by a grateful local community.
The Beer branch of the Royal British Legion presented the life-saving team with a community award to acknowledge their efforts in 2020 during the Covid crisis.
Station officer Terry Hoare shared his thoughts and memories on air with BBC Radio Devon presenter David FitzGerald recently.
Terry explained: “We respond to any members of the public dialling 999. We liaise with the RNLI, police and in fact any of the emergency services. We are all volunteers with a range of ages. My brother and I are the two oldest, right the way down to the youngest, who is 32. But we do have a lot of experience.”
“We can go to assist in any incident from Lyme Regis as far down as Teignmouth, depending on the size of the situation and what’s happening. Obviously there are the events at sea but we’ve been inland before to assist with a road traffic accident; it is so varied.”
Terry recalled the MSC Napoli disaster of 2007, which saw a ship bound for South Africa carrying 2,300 containers sustain severe damage in a violent storm. It beached at Branscombe.
He told David: “The MSC Napoli was an incident which went on for two and a half years really. When it first started I spent the best part of a week on Branscombe beach dealing with the containers being washed up.
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“Recently we had to deal with a woman who fell from the cliffs. She was just walking between Beer and Seaton. Apparently she stepped off the path to look back to where she had come from and slipped. We estimate she fell something like one hundred feet. Somehow she stopped on a small ledge with a sheer drop below it of at least 80 feet onto rocks. Holding on to a bush with one hand, she managed to get the phone out of her pocket and called 999. We had to set up a rope rescue and send someone down the cliff.
“We had the HART team, Devon Air Ambulance and the Coastguard helicopter at the scene. We sent our technician down the cliff, secured her and brought her back up with thankfully very minor injuries. At the top we simply handed her over to the ambulance service and all was well.”
Last year Beer’s coastguards were involved in 79 incidents. This year so far they have been involved in 11.
Terry said: “This is our quieter period, summer will be busy. The Coastguard used to do lookouts but with modern technology that’s all been taken away. We rely on people calling.”