THE MAYOR of Seaford Linda Wallraven, and her consort Liz Holland, witnessed a rescue helicopter operation while on a visit to the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) lookout in Newhaven on Sunday July 31.
Just as the mayoral party arrived for its visit, the rescue helicopter was tasked by HM Coastguard to pick up two casualties who had been brought by ambulance to the helicopter landing area at Tidemills in Seaford Bay.
The NCI Newhaven watchkeepers monitored the incident and assisted by getting some nearby hang gliders safely onto the ground before the arrival of the rescue helicopter.
The mayor and her consort watched the operation with interest and were impressed with the smooth handling of the incident by all members of the search and rescue organisation.
It was the mayor’s first visit to the NCI Newhaven lookout on Castle Hill which opened in 2004 when NCI volunteer watchkeepers took it over.
The lookout had been closed some years earlier as part of the Coastguard cuts at that time.
The NCI is a registered charity which provides volunteer watchkeepers to more than 40 lookouts around the coast of the UK.
A watch is kept most days of the year by nearly 2,000 highly trained watchkeepers country-wide who provide, as the NCI motto states, ‘Eyes along the Coast.
Cllr Wallraven said: “The NCI do a really useful job here in Newhaven and I was impressed with everything I saw.
“It is a thoroughly professional operation.”
Chairman of NCI Newhaven, Ann Abbott, accompanied the mayoral party on their visit.
She said: “We have always enjoyed close ties with the community we serve and I am delighted that the Mayor found time to pay us a visit.
“I think she was convinced we had laid on the helicopter operation just for her!”