Poole Lifeboat volunteers recently held a ‘Farewell training session with the Portland SAR helicopter which will be stood down from operation around the Dorset coast today (Friday June 30).
Poole lifeboat crews past and present have worked alongside the helicopter winch men and crews of the SAR helicopters based at Portland, in training and in earnest for many years.
The last exercise took place recently with longest serving volunteers Helmsmen Jonathan Clark and Gavin McGuinness along with two new recruits trainee helm Suzie Jupp and trainee crew Dave Huggins, who gained some invaluable experience, the Poole Atlantic Lifeboat was in Poole Bay working side by side, practising winching drills, all agreed it was a very good session and a mutually beneficial exercise and a poignant one as it was to be the last.
Helm Gavin McGuiness reflected;
‘Jon and myself have worked alongside Portland SAR helo for many years and had some memorable and successful services together, it’s sad to lose that asset with the concern that it’s a backup we no longer have’.
Poole Lifeboats longest serving volunteer Jonathan Clark said;
‘The helicopter based at Portland has been a great asset and I can recall lots of ‘Shouts’ where we have worked together, many scenarios that you reflect on, lifting off the back of the all-weather lifeboat, working together under extreme pressure , real teamwork. To all the crews that were based at Portland we wish them well and sincerely thank them for all their support’
Poole Lifeboat crews will continue to work alongside the Leonardo AW189 SAR helicopter that was built in Yeovil, Somerset and operates from Lee-On-Solent, near Portsmouth.
The Poole lifeboat crews recently conducted a demonstration with the SAR helicopter at the recent Poole Maritime event in May.
Video Credit to Dave Riley: