NEWHAVEN NCI - TEN YEARS OF EYES ALONG THE COAST
July 17 2014.
David Crozier reports:
Newhaven NCI has been keeping a lookout along the coast, and coastal waters, of Newhaven and Seaford for ten years. Newhaven station was number 30 to be founded and is situated in a previously abandoned Coastguard lookout high up on Castle Hill, Newhaven. The 1960s-built lookout was taken over by a small group of volunteers in 2004 and some of that group were previous members of HM Coastguard who had previously staffed the lookout.
Newhaven port and Newhaven marina, which are alongside the lookout, see very mixed traffic; car ferries, lifeboats, border agency vessels, fisheries protection vessels, cargo ships, fishing vessels, charter boats, dive boats, private yachts, small leisure craft and jet skis. Additionally, ramblers, paragliders and hangliders use the coastal cliffs in front of the lookout.
The purview, about 450 square miles on a clear day, includes Seaford Bay, still a popular leisure resort attracting all types of surfing activities as well as swimmers. The view from the lookout, which is 175' above sea level, extends to the English channel shipping lanes.
Currently, Newhaven NCI has a membership of sixty-three watchkeepers and trainees, but it has taken ten years of increasing local awareness and good service to reach that level. Initially a very small group kept watch. At a recent celebratory lunch, four of those original members were able to attend in addition to five of the six current watchkeepers who received ten year service awards.
Special guests at the event were Cllr. Judith Ost, the Mayor of Newhaven, Mr Pat Ost, Graham Easton, the Sector Manager HM Coastguard, Paul Legendre: Coxwain of Newhaven RNLI lifeboat and Laurie Holland and Bob Peedle from The Royal Society of St. George, who actively support Newhaven NCI. The ten year members were honoured, as well as a group of five-year awardees. About sixty special guests, members and their partners were able to attend the celebration. A brass plaque commemorating the ten years of service was presented to the station as a whole and is now displayed in the lookout.
Recognition of the ten-year milestone in the history of NCI will continue all year with special '2004-2014 Ten Years of Eyes Along The Coast' banners having been made for fundraising events. Even celebratory, limited edition, NCI-uniformed teddy bears have been made! The bears are being sold towards fundraising and are proving very popular.
With a gradually expanding membership, rigorous training programme, huge local support and increasing public awareness, Newhaven NCI goes from strength to strength and will certainly be celebrating again ten years from now.
Pictured above: L to R: Tony Tilbury, Den Morgan, Judith Ost (Mayor of Newhaven), Bob Allen, Pat Ost (Mayor's Consort), David Wolfe, Arthur Tinnuche. Awardee Tony Fortnam was unable to attend (away sailing!).