Adrian Wellock, left, and watch manager, Darren Bacon. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
FOLLOWING a huge community effort over the past decade, work to rebuild one of the Isle of Wight’s busiest lifeboat stations is now underway.
Having raised around £70,000 to refurbish and extend their Appley headquarters, the Ryde Inshore Rescue crew and committee appealed to Islanders three years ago to help them reach the full £140,000 amount.
With more than £100,000 now in the kitty, the rebuilding work kicked off in earnest his week.
To keep costs down, crew and coastguard members and Ryde firefighters have volunteered to help contractor A&B Builders with the demolition work and have already started removing the roof and ceilings.
Karen Fisher, assistant secretary at Ryde Inshore Rescue, said the team was looking forward to an exciting new chapter in its history.
"The station was rebuilt in 1978 after a fire and the organisation has grown so much since then, so it was very cramped and in need of upgrading.
"We are already very busy and this means we will be able to do much more in the future.
"We are so grateful to everyone who has volunteered to help with the work and to everyone who donated to the appeal.
"Without their generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to do this."
The remodelling work will include replacing the roof and building a new watch room, first-aid room, office and kitchen.
There will also be a fundraising shop and classroom to teach school and community groups about sea safety.
Ryde Inshore Rescue, a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, is manned entirely by volunteers and costs £30,000 a year to run.
The unit has already responded to 37 calls this year, ranging from stricken yachts to lost children, and rescued 86 people.
It will remain operational throughout the works.
In June 2011, singer Peter Andre visited the station for his television show, Here to Help, to raise funds for the new building.