On Saturday October 15, I was invited to attend an RNLI fish supper at The Gallivant in Camber, a wonderful restaurant. However, this meal which was to raise funds for the local RNLI lifeboat, stationed in Rye Harbour, took place instead in the lovely annex, a marquee-like structure next to the restaurant.
He was not able to be there, but left his General Manager, Mark O’Reilly, in charge to look after us. The food was delicious and the pudding especially very yummy. We were told that the evening raised about £1,500 and that suppliers donated much of the food.
I was very happy to share the table with the Mayor Jonathan Breeds, Deputy Mayor Mike Boyd, Mrs and Mrs Seymour as well as Tony Howard and Derek Brown who own the Harborough Nurseries in Guestling.
The RNLI has been in existence for 165 years. It is a charity dedicated to saving lives at sea despite rescue missions having cost the lives of a number of lifeboat crews over the years. 92% of its income still comes from donations and legacies, and it depends on dedicated volunteers and supporters. Rye Harbour lifeboat station currently operates an inshore Atlantic 75 lifeboat but in 1928 the station saw one of the worst disasters when 17 crew members lost their lives when going to the aid of a ship in trouble. It was devastating for the village as in some cases there were several members from one family who drowned.
There is a shop in front of the lifeboat station which is open between April and November and helps with revenue. The RNLI is hoping to raise enough money to be able to fund Emergency Life Guards for Camber Sands in 2017.
Anyone getting involved in helping to raise money for the RNLI and the Camber Life Guard will be helping to save lives.
After the recent deaths there was an RNLI presence on Camber Sands until the school holidays finished, although prior to the tragedies Rother District Council, who are responsible for maintaining the beach and providing life guards, had not considered them necessary. even though at the peak periods the Sands can attract over 25,000 people – just beach staff and some police officers, dependant on need, and none of whom were trained to deal with emergencies in the sea.
Photos: Heidi Foster