Coldingham Bay’s lifeguards are to benefit from new equipment thanks to the generosity of local musicians.
The very popular Reston Concert Band have busy fundraising recently and have presented a cheque for over £250 to RNLI lifeguards at Coldingham.
The Reston Concert Band approached the RNLI with the idea of raising money for the lifeguards based at Coldingham Bay. This is the first fundraising effort aimed at raising funds specifically for RNLI lifeguards in Scotland.
The RNLI lifeguard service at Coldingham Bay is the first, and still the only, lifeguard service the RNLI operate in Scotland. The lifeguards are now half way through their second season and they have proved their worth to beach users and the community.
Beach lifeguard Matthew Gibbons said: “We’re really pleased that we have been chosen to receive this generous donation.
“The money is invaluable to us and will pay for the kit we need to do our job, such as the wetsuits we wear to keep us warm in the water, sunglasses and t-shirts to protect us from the weather on nice days, and ponchos to protect us from the weather on not so nice days!
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Reston Concert Band on behalf of all of us at Coldingham Bay.”
The local authority contributes towards the RNLI’s costs, which helps to pay their wages but the cost of fully equipping each lifeguard is £600 and the annual cost of training each RNLI lifeguard is £524.
The primary role of lifeguards on the beach is to prevent incidents from happening in the first place by offering safety advice and marking out a safe swimming area with red and yellow flags.
Lifeguards at Coldingham Bay have also tended to minor and major first aid incidents this year and have rescued a number of people from rip currents which can catch people unaware and take them further offshore.
In May two teenagers were saved by the lifeguards after being swept out to sea. The boy and a girl from the Coldingham area had to be rescued after they had been swept out to sea. They had initially been paddling but found themselves in difficulty when they got caught in a strong rip current and were carried out to sea.
Summer lifeguards have operated at Coldingham beach for over a decade now, employed by Scottish Borders Council. As the number of visitors to Coldingham Sands increased the council took the decision to employ two lifeguards in 2006, providing them with a base and look-out at the beach. The council then entered into a five year contract with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to provide the service, in 2013.
The lifeguards at Coldingham Bay will be on duty until September 8.
The RNLI’s Beach Finder app enables users to search for lifeguarded beaches and read up on local hazards. With weather updates from the Met Office it also removes any doubt over whether to pack an umbrella or sun cream! The app is available to download for Apple or Android devices at www.rnli.org/beach.