November 2015 update

Retrieving the semi-submerged dory off Newfoundland Cove..

Operations Update November 2015
There were two service calls for Dart Lifeboat in October.
On Tuesday 20 October we were tasked to investigate the sighting of flares up the river in the area of Sharpham. We were assisted by the Coastguard shore teams. This was subsequently established to be a false alarm, but with good intent.
On Monday 26th we launched as a request from HM Coastguards to investigate a drifting unmanned dinghy in the area of Newfoundland cove. The original information came from the National Coast Watch volunteers at Froward Point. They had sighted a yacht circling the dinghy and then leaving the scene and entering the harbour. The lifeboat located the semi-submerged 4 metre dory with a small outboard attached. It was taken in tow to a berth in Kingswear. The owners were located and informed. It would appear the owners were towing the dory when it broke free. They had attempted to secure the tow again but were unable to do so. While no lives were at risk it was appropriate to remove the dory from the seaway as it could pose a threat to navigation.
On Thursday 29 October we were visited by Will Elwood who is the RNLI Crew Assessor and Trainer for the English Channel Division. He was able to carry out crew assessments on elements of their training. Crew competency is externally assessed in this way to maintain the high level of expertise expected by the RNLI.

Rob Clements, Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Visitor Centre update November 2015
Our last open day was Friday 30 October. The following day all our stock was taken down and stored away.
Plans for November
The builders are starting on Monday 2nd Nov. During the month they will be repainting the interior, making electrical changes, mending the windows and working with the RNLI design team fitting the various display cabinets. The displays, TV's etc will be fitted during the week commencing 23 November. The exterior signage will also be erected during this time.
The week commencing 30 November will be the important week for us, the volunteers. During this week we will spend time familiarising ourselves with all the displays and restocking the shop. I will let you all know in plenty of time the days and times. 
We will be reopening for business on Monday 7 December, (assuming all goes to plan, which we are confident will happen). Prior to this date I will get in touch with everyone to plan the rota for December and decide on our Christmas opening times.  It will be a "soft opening" for now with just some local advertising in the paper and RNLI website. We will save the major advertising, local TV etc for our grand opening which will happen, hopefully, in the Spring.
Don't forget on the 4th and 11th November we have our training with Rob at the boat house on Coronation Park, starting at 6pm. I have a list of all those who are attending. If anyone else wishes to come along and join the team now that the educational side of the Centre will be open then you are more than welcome. Please contact me in the first instance.
I appreciate that these dates mean that we will miss the Candlelight Parade. A full month is needed for all parties to complete their work and it was important that we were still open for the Food Festival and half term which has been very successful.

Tracey Lucas, RNLI Visitor Centre Manager

Food Festival has come and gone, the half term visitors have gone home and Dartmouth is resting over November before the festive season to come. October proved fruitful with various small legacies, a meat draw donation from the Steam Packet and a very tidy sum raised at a fun evening of music and dancing at Kingswear Village Hall, starring “Sax Appeal” and organised by Hilary Bussell. The icing on the cake was the effort by the RNLI Face to Face Team (F2F) at the Food Festival. This team sells national RNLI memberships and, as we invited them, we are credited with the first year’s membership fee. This time they recruited 23 members and credited RNLI Dart with £1035. Their previous efforts at events here over the summer raised more than £3,400. They also raised £74 in bucket donations and recruited 12 new “Friends” of RNLI Dart on our behalf. If you are one of the new “Friends”, welcome! We will certainly be inviting F2F to join us again next year.
Another nice little earner is the “wall of death” collecting box in the Visitor Centre (VC). If you haven’t seen it yet get on down when the VC re-opens on 7 December and slip a pound coin in the slot. The result is so cool! I love it and so do many of our visitors.
I have been taking time to reflect on events for the next year and making sure we have all of our bookings and permissions granted in good time. The year will unfold in three distinct flurries of activity.
In January and February John Fenton will be visiting schools to pass on news of what the RNLI Dart crew have achieved over the last year.
Traditionally the schools have raised funds on our behalf during these visits. In the same period we have the challenge of keeping the lights on at the VC with private events. All ideas to Tracey Lucas please.
We can also look forward to a talk in the Dartmouth yacht Club on Tuesday 19 Jan. about fish, by our very own fishmonger Mark Lobb and a Quiz Supper with raffle at Radius 7 in Stoke Fleming on Thursday 18 Feb. The food is superb, the raffle has great prizes and the quiz questions are of a standard that most of us can answer. It is a great evening, not to be missed.
In May we are participating in the RNLI’s national May Day campaign. Yellow Wellie pin badges will be on sale for the whole month and we will be tailoring our events to coincide. We start with Sink Our Ship with the Lifeboat and Crew (and the odd pet dog) taking over the Boat Float for two hours of fun and fundraising on Sat 30 April. Simon Amphlett will be organising the Vintage Car Rally on Coronation Park the next day and on Tuesday 3 May we will conduct a street collection. This year I needed 53 people. Please give me a call in the New Year or email if you are available again.
Of course before Christmas we have a few things to tempt you out. There is a Quiz at “The Windjammer” in Victoria Road at 8pm on Thursday 19 November in aid of RNLI Dart and Rowcroft Hospice. Why not get a team together. As I speak there are still a few places left at the RNLI Dart Christmas Dinner at the Royal Castle Hotel on 10 December. Call Tracey Lucas if you want a place.

Ed Featherstone     07889 953974

Posted on Mon 9 Nov 2015 by John Fenton LPO

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