Rescue mission drama on visit to SARA

David Davies got more than he bargained for when he visited Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) today.

The MP for Monmouth enjoyed a tour of the lifeboat and rescue station at Beachley, before donning a drysuit and lifejacket to climb aboard SARA lifeboat 1 'The Jim Hewitt'.

He was taken down the River Severn into strong winds, then up the River Wye through Chepstow where the water was calmer. 

As they were passing the cliffs on which they train, the crew received a call from the police asking them to return urgently to Chepstow and investigate reports of a submerged vessel at Chepstow pontoon.

No such vessel was found and the team, including Mr Davies who had been able to assist, headed back to Beachley headquarters. 

"It was very interesting to spend time with the SARA crew," he said afterwards. 

"We were called to an incident while I was out on the water with them, which fortunately proved not to be serious, but it did highlight the fact that the specialist emergency skills which they have are hugely useful in certain situations.

"I am sure we are all incredibly grateful to these volunteers for the work they do." 

A SARA spokesman added: "SARA responded to 130 incidents last year, one every three days.

"Visits from key stakeholders are important to us and we very much appreciate their support.

"We receive no statutory funding from the government but recent grants have been very generous and we hope they will continue." 

SARA is currently recruiting for more lifeboat crew, with a training course starting in March.

For more information, please email or visit Beachley station on a Thursday evening.