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Bravery in spotlight as ball hits record

PUBLISHED: 15:48 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:47 03 July 2010

Lifeboat crew with the mayor and mayoress

Lifeboat crew with the mayor and mayoress

Laura Bagshaw

A RECORD £11,000 was raised at the 70th annual Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Ball.

Five hundred people attended the sell-out event at the Ocean Room, Gorleston, on Friday where crew members were honoured for their dedication and bravery.

Mayor Terry Easter presents Kim Chiddle with a certificate

A RECORD £11,000 was raised at the 70th annual Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Ball.

Five hundred people attended the sell-out event at the Ocean Room, Gorleston, on Friday where crew members were honoured for their dedication and bravery.

And former crew member Kim Chiddle received a certificate commemorating his 12 years' service with the lifeboat after retiring as second mechanic shortly before Christmas.

Attended by the lifeboat crew, their friends and families, as well as local dignitaries including mayor and mayoress Terry and Jenny Easter, the event included money-spinning attractions such as tombola, a raffle and an auction led by Charles

Bycroft.

A grand prize of an exclusive private day for two people at the historic Goodwood Circuit was auctioned for £2,000 while the tombola netted more than £2,000.

The ball was organised by the

ladies' lifeboat guild, which raised a record £87,000 last year for the lifeboat, which relies totally on donations.

Guild chairman Carol Horne said

she was delighted with the amount

of money raised.

“We ended our year with a record amount and we have started 2009 with a record amount,” she said.

Heartened by the support the event received, Mrs Horne added: “It was a good event which promoted the lifeboat and honoured the crew,

which is important, and fortunately they were not called out.”

Friday's ball marked the 70th anniversary of the occasion, with the first ball held at the Queens Hotel, now the New Beach Hotel, in December 1938. Except for the war years, it has been a popular event on the social calendar for many years.

Father-of-three Mr Chiddle was presented with a certificate by the mayor for his dedicated service over the past 12 years.

Retiring as second mechanic of the all-weather lifeboat, the Samarbeta, Mr Chiddle joined the RNLI in 1996 and also served on the inshore lifeboat until he was 45.

Memorable call-outs include being stuck waste deep in mud at Breydon Water when the lifeboat was dispatched to assist a stricken vessel which had a pregnant woman on board.

Recalling the rescue which

happened several years ago, Mr Chiddle said he volunteered to get

to the stricken boat and leapt off the side of the inshore lifeboat. “I was stuck waist deep in mud but I managed to get free and get on the boat. It was certainly eventful,” said Mr Chiddle, of Lowestoft Road, Gorleston.

Mr Chiddle, 52, is married to Dawn and works locally as a builder.

“I've very much enjoyed my time with the lifeboat and I will miss it,” he added.


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