Behind the scenes with some of Norfolk’s unsung lifesavers

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Some of the unsung heroes from Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NORLSAR) were out in force, training on the River Bure at Horstead Mill, near Coltishall, on the weekend.

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

The team, who are all volunteers, wade out in boats to people's homes to rescue them during flooding and help police in the search for missing people, 365 days a year.

Last week they were in North Walsham searching on land for missing 75-year-old June Turner.

Earlier this year, they rescued a 12-year-old boy who had jumped in the river at Horstead Mill.

More recently, during the heavy rain and flooding, they helped people stuck in their cars or on roads.

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019


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Jack Wiseman, NORLSAR vice-chairman, was one of the brave souls in dry suits to enter the water on Sunday, November 3.

Based at Wroxham fire station, his team of 12 are flooding first responders.

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The team, which has two boats, works alongside Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, but completely relies on fundraising.

Mr Wiseman said: "Each member's equipment costs £1,500 and it has to be maintained.

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

"While Lowland Search and Rescue is quite a new thing, Norfolk Search and Rescue, which we took on, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

"In Norfolk, we have 65 members. The main base is at Wroxham, where we keep the equipment, and we have an office at Attleborough police station."

His team trains twice a month, and he added: "Horstead Mill is one of the only places in Norfolk with moving water.

"We give as much time as we need to. On average the water team does 500 hours yearly, which includes a lot of weekends.

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

"We train in dry suits. We do a bit of wading, simulate crossing streets under water, and build up confidence. People don't know, but even four inches of water moving at speed, can knock you off your feet."

Mr Wiseman works off-shore and he said that, as a volunteer, it can be hard to get time off.

Other volunteers run accountancy and vet practices, pea harvesting companies, or are librarians.

If you can help, visit http://www.norlsar.org.uk/

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Mundesley Inshore Lifeboat team volunteers in wade training at Horstead Mill. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

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