NCI Annual General Meeting sees Canvey Island win award


NCI - Clive Pouncey, NCI Chairman Paul Bennet, NCI Insurance Officer Cdr Lesley Suddes RN, NCI past Chairman Grahame Harris, Station Manager, NCI Canvey Island Mrs Teri Richards

Clive Pouncey - NCI Chairman | Paul Bennet - NCI Insurance Officer | Cdr Lesley Suddes RN - NCI past Chairman | Grahame Harris - Station Manager - NCI Canvey Island | Mrs Teri Richards.

The National Coastwatch Annual General Meeting took place at the end of April at the Union Jack Club in London. It was attended by representatives of all stations both in person and on live video feed and at this event, the Alan Richards Award for Outstanding Service was presented to NCI Canvey Island in memory of NCI’s past Chairman. It recognized the sustained excellence in performance, dedication and exemplary service that this station has demonstrated over the past twelve months.

This long established NCI station, originally located at the Port of London pier at Holehaven on the Thames Estuary, had been troubled for some years with unwelcome visitors who caused damage and created anti social behaviour in themselves causing life threatening problems. The constant anti social behaviour meant that the station had to be closed on several occasions for the safety of watchkeepers who were continually subjected to abuse. When the station itself became a target for vandalism and theft, the situation became intolerable and The Board of Trustees determined that, as this location was too valuable to abandon, a new site should be found which would give the same or similar coverage to the very busy Thames side coastline.

Once the decision was made to move the Island Yacht Club stepped up with a plan and a new and secure sight was located within the confines of the yard. Much local support was offered and funds were raised over time for a new and more modern facility which is now operational. All the work was carried out during the Covid pandemic, and much of the site work was done by NCI volunteers outside their normal duties. With it’s new name of NCI Canvey Island, it is a proud successor to the old and well established PLA building at Holehaven Pier. This station, born out of adversity, is now flourishing in its new home in a welcoming community and is a worthy winner of the award.

At the same meeting Cdr Lesley Suddes RN, past General Secretary, Chair and retiring Trustee was presented with an engraved Dartington fruit bowl by the Board of Trustees in recognition of the immense contribution that she has made in bringing the charity to the forefront of the nation’s search and rescue community and to it’s successes, achievements and progress.

A further feature of the meeting was the presentation by Trustee Stephen Hand, NCI lead on the new Five Year Business Plan, who gave an update on the progress achieved so far in the six key areas declared in the Plan. These are to strengthen the management organisation; to expand the alignment with MCA and HMCG; to expand the coverage around the coast in areas of defined need; to implement changes in technology; to win the hearts and minds of the public, and to establish NCI’s role in the national water safety programme. These long-term strategies are already being worked up.

And please remember, do call us on VHF channel 65. We’ll be listening…

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