Fundraiser for Newhaven’s popular beach webcams raises hundreds within a week
A fundraiser which was launched to help cover the cost of running Newhaven’s popular beach webcams has surpassed its target within a week.
Newhaven Webcams was set up by 22-year-old Tiger Cox with the help of local residents and the National Coastwatch Institute.
For the last two years, Tiger has run the site in his free time and paid for all the server costs himself.
But with costs adding up, he decided to set up a fundraising page and ask people to contribute.
“Some 26 viewers donated £315 within one week which is very generous of them, and will help keep the site going,” he said.
Tiger was born in Lawes Avenue in Newhaven and grew up watching his parents build a wooden boat at Cantell and Son’s boatyard by Denton Island.
Every summer they would go sailing, heading out as the swing bridge opened.
“It was just the coolest thing to sail down that river and out to sea,” Tiger said.
“Now I’m the one who gets stuck in the traffic when the bridge opens and curses the sailors!
“But back then I didn’t think about traffic, I just worried that when we got out to sea it would be rough and I would be sick, which often happened.
“If only there had been live cameras back then! “
A paragliding instructor in his day job, Tiger is constantly having to assess the weather.
A fellow pilot had set two cameras up at the NCI Tower and they occasionally worked online, but only if less than half a dozen people were watching.
When he asked Tiger to take on the cameras and make them better, he agreed.
Tiger said: “With my childhood experiences of the sea and my need for live weather information right now, it just made sense to keep the cameras going.”
Using his basic programming skills, Tiger was able to get a website set up with a live video feed.
He said he did not realise its impact until he added a feedback form to the site.
More than 200 people wrote in to tell him how the cameras helped them, and Tiger was shocked by the diversity of the answers.
They ranged from “I live in a one bedroom flat and can’t visit the beach so the cameras help me feel connected to the town” to “I use the streams to keep an eye on my boat in the harbour”.
Tiger said: “The cameras were especially popular over both lockdowns when people couldn’t get down to the seaside.”
Streaming live video uses an ‘incredible amount’ of data – around tens of gigabytes a day – and Tiger decided he needed help with the finances.
“I didn’t want to put ads on the site, so I just put I GoFundMe link and asked people to give what they could to keep the cameras going,” he said.
While the funds raised will not cover all the time and effort he puts in, Tiger said it would help cover some of the server costs and perhaps fund some higher resolution cameras.
He said: “I have enjoyed the challenge of encoding and streaming live video, so I’m going to leave the funding page active and keep the site ticking over for all the watchers at home.”
Donate to the fundraiser here.
View the site at newhavenwebcams.co.uk
You can also follow the Instagram page by searching @newhavenwebcams