On Friday 29 May, the village of Muchelney, which was hit hard by flooding of the Somerset Levels, loaned its rescue boat to Burnham-on-Sea’s BARB Search & Rescue.
In the heart of the Somerset Levels, the village of Muchelney was completely cut off from surrounding areas during the floods in 2012, leaving its residents stranded. During this time, local companies involved in the marine industry arranged the loan of a boat to transport essential supplies to the village and for use to get residents in and out. When the village was cut off again just over a year later, exhibitors at the London Boat Show got together and arranged donations in order to buy a Rigiflex Newmatic 360 Safety Rescue Boat, which was delivered within 24 hours to the village.
Earlier this year, a 500m stretch of one of the roads into Muchelney was raised, to ensure the village will no longer be cut off by flooding. In response to this positive news, residents of the village decided to permanently lend its rescue boat to BARB Search & Rescue. BARB is a registered charity that operates two life-saving rescue hovercrafts and an inshore rescue boat in the Bridgwater Bay area. The crew from the BARB were first on the scene at Muchelney during the flooding.
The formal handover marks a very positive step for the village and for the rest of Somerset affected by the flooding. Alastair Mullineux, Chair of Muchelney Parish Meeting, says, “A lot of work has been done here in Muchelney and the road into the village has been raised by 4ft, which reduces the likelihood of it flooding again. Everyone is more confident and we’re happy to pass the boat to BARB on a permanent loan as a thank you to them.”
On-hand to accept the boat were Roger Flower and Kevin Williams from BARB. Roger comments, “The new boat doubles our capacity to help with flooding and rescues. We are extremely grateful to the people of Muchelney for their generous donation and to the original donors of the boat for making this possible.”
For more information about BARB Search & Rescue, please visit: burnham-on-sea.com/barb