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Lifeboat station is 'heart of St Abbs'

Nearly 300 people took part in the protest walk Credit: ITV Border

Local people took to the streets of St Abbs to demonstrate against the closure of their lifeboat station.

14 crew members and other volunteers at the station are from the local area.

Those taking part in the protest said the station is the heart of the community.

Credit: ITV Border

The RNLI said:

The difficult decision to close St Abbs lifeboat station was taken over five years and based, amongst other things, on data going back further than ten years. The RNLI acknowledges the strength of feeling that there is within the community and this is demonstrated by the walk

– RNLI Spokesman

St Abbs protest against Lifeboat station closure

Nearly 300 people joined the protest walk Credit: ITV Border

Nearly 300 people have protested against a planned closure of St Abbs Lifeboat station.

Members of the community marched from the primary school to the harbour behind a piper.

RNLI announced earlier this year that they are to close the station, which has served the community since 1907.

They have added an extra boat to the fleet in Eyemouth, which will provide emergency rescue to the 35 mile Berwickshire coast.

People in St Abbs said the closure would "rip the heart out of the community".

The station at St Abbs is to close later this year Credit: ITV Border
St Abbs RNLI Lifeboat volunteers Credit: ITV Border

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RNLI say Eyemouth boat is in service

The RNLI say their Eyemouth crew have not been off service at any point today.

It's after St Abbs station crew claimed the Trent class all-weather boat in Eyemouth Harbour is confined to the harbour due to tidal restrictions.

A spokesperson at RNLI said: "The crew at Eyemouth were offshore doing an exercise today, but at no point were they off service. In the event there are tidal restrictions, which happens around 12 times a year, it would only be for 55 minutes at a time".

St Abbs RNLI Lifeboat volunteers are to protest later today against a planned closure of their station.

Thousands sign petition to save Borders lifeboat station

Credit: ITV Border

A petition calling for a lifeboat station in the Scottish Borders to be saved from closure has attracted 4,000 signatures.

The RNLI announced earlier this year that the station in St Abbs will close by the end of the summer.

The charity says changes in technology - not cost cutting - mean the station is no longer needed, and that they can provide a better service adding an extra lifeboat to the Eyemouth station two miles away.

St Abbs lifeboat crew resume RNLI service

St Abbs Lifeboat Station Credit: ITV Border

St Abbs lifeboat crew say they will reactivate their emergency pagers and respond to any call for help.

The team at St Abbs were refusing to carry out rescues on behalf of the RNLI, after it announced the closure of the station.

A spokesperson for the crew said: "With another busy weekend of diving, watersports, fishing & walking looming, and a bank holiday due next weekend, they felt they could not leave users of this stretch of coastline vulnerable and without the vital and swift coverage their Atlantic 75 lifeboat provides".

The RNLI says changes in technology - not cost cutting - mean the station is no longer needed, and that they can provide a better service by closing it, and adding an extra lifeboat to the Eyemouth station two miles away:

This review hasn't been about putting any sort of cover into jeopardy, it is about making the best use of our resources in the area, and it is about making sure the funds that our supporters give us are spent wisely where they are needed so we get a good layout of stations around our coast."

– RNLI

Lamont calls for St Abbs station to stay open

Credit: ITV Border

Local MSP John Lamont has added his name to those calling for St Abbs lifeboat station to be kept open.

RNLI announced that the site in St Abbs will be closed by the end of the summer.

It plans to add an inshore boat to the station at Eyemouth.

But the MSP has urged RNLI to consider delaying the closure for another year.

He claims the group will save around £2.5 million from April 2015 as it will no longer be paying VAT, and this money could be used to sustain the service.

The concern has been raised that closing the station will put lives at risk and put people off coming to St Abbs to dive.

"The UK Government has just given RNLI a tax relief worth around £2.5m annually.

"I’d hope that these savings can be put to good use to protect frontline services.

"Delaying this decision for another year will allow these savings to come through and may mean RNLI is in a position to retain the station.”

– John Lamont MSP

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St Abbs lifeguards 'will use own boats' for rescues

St Abbs station will close.

Lifeboat crews at St Abbs are refusing to carry out rescues on behalf of the RNLI, after it announced the closure of their station.

Volunteers were told yesterday that the station, which has been in the Berwickshire town for 104 years, will shut in three months.

It was built in 1911 after a shipwreck that killed 19 people.

But the RNLI says changes in technology - not cost cutting - mean the station is no longer needed, and that they can provide a better service by closing it, and adding an extra lifeboat to the Eyemouth station two miles away:

This review hasn't been about putting any sort of cover into jeopardy, it is about making the best use of our resources in the area, and it is about making sure the funds that our supporters give us are spent wisely where they are needed so we get a good layout of stations around our coast."

– RNLI

However, crew members have now handed in their pagers, and they say they won't respond to calls from the RNLI, in protest against the decision, which they say could cost lives:

The RNLI has asked them to reconsider, and says it will speed up plans for the new inshore lifeboat at Eyemouth station.

The volunteers say that if a serious accident happens, they will use their own boats to help.

Bid to launch lifeboat group in landlocked city

David Bowen, who is forming an RNLI group in Carlisle Credit: ITV Border

Carlisle might not be on the coast, but that hasn't stopped one campaigner launching a lifeboat charity group in the city.

David Bowen - an active member of the Silloth and District RNLI for many years - is appealing for volunteers in Carlisle to help raise funds for the charity that provides a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service from four stations in Cumbria.

The RNLI, which relies entirely on donations, rescued more than 100 people in Cumbria last year and Mr Bowen wants to boost fundraising efforts by establishing this new group.

While the majority of RNLI rescues are carried out in coastal waters, the charity helped rescue residents trapped in the Carlisle floods of 2005 and Cockermouth in 2009.

"The RNLI is funded by the people of Britain, we don't get any subsidies from the Government at all so without the public's help we'd find it very difficult to provide this life-saving service."

– David Bowen, Carlisle RNLI

Around 10 Carlisle volunteers have already come forward but Mr Bowen is aiming to double that number.

Anybody interested in volunteering can register their interest or find out more by calling Mr Bowen on 01697 478100 or 07729478482 or emailing dwkbowen@outlook.com

Rise in RNLI call-outs prompts new drowning warning

New figures released by the RNLI show that the number of coastal deaths has reached its highest level for four years.

In 2012/2013 thirteen people died in our coastal waters - four in the seas off Cumbria, five off Dumfries and Galloway and, on the East coast, four died off the Scottish Borders' shoreline.

The RNLI is now launching another campaign to raise awareness of water danger.

Lori Carnochan reports.

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