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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Darkest Cornwall

I took a break over the bank holiday and went down to Cornwall where my Gran used to live, and where I used to have a summer job working as a surf life-guard on the beach.

It was the RNLI lifeboat day, and the whole community had got together to put on a huge fund raising event. This is apicture of me after I got roped into doing a leg of Bude Surf Life Saving Club's fund raiser surf-craft marathon on the Bude Canal. If the photo is a bit dark, it is because I was stupid enough to agree to do one of the night shifts.

I am in fact ( if you look VERY closely) holding the rescue-board I paddled. It is really a long surf-board designed to be paddled through the surf quickly to collect a swimmer in distress. So there I was paddling up and down the canal at 1.30am trying to avoid the dead eel that had been reported floating about. But all in a good cause! In total, the club paddled around 100-150k, and is still waiting to hear just how much money they raised.

Bude Surf Club is the first Surf Life Saving Club to be set up in Britain ( in 1953). It trains its members in surf-life-saving, many of whom go on to become life-guards on the beach and provides an essential voluntary patrol during the busy summer season. Lots of people like me nip down the M5 from Bristol to Cornwall for their holidays, and if I had not worked as a life-guard, I would never have guessed the amount of training and community involvement that goes into keeping us safe while we enjoy ourselves on the beaches. Community Action, Professional pride, sport and healthy living... what more could a Conservative Candidate ask?!

Sigh. I can't pretend I don't miss my lifeguarding days a bit. But Severn Beach Surf Lifesaving Club just doesn't have that ring about it...

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