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1st September 2017. A Portland family braved adverse weather conditions to host a community party to raise vital funds for the National Coastwatch Institution.

Motivated by a successful event last year, which saw the family raise £1025 for the Coastwatch charity, this year’s party promised more games, goodies and family fun.

Undeterred by the strong winds and thunderstorms, Alex Boatswain and her partner Dr. Peter Hill moved their garden party into St Andrew’s Church hall in Southwell, where residents and watch keepers packed out the hall and tucked into the plentiful cream teas, homemade cakes, crab sandwiches and lobster wraps, where they raised an incredible £1112 for the lookout at NCI Portland Bill.

Alex, who runs a beauty salon in Fortuneswell, said: “It was a really good event, people were queueing out the door. In three hours, we managed to get rid of all our cakes and tombola prizes and raise all that money. The event had a feel community feel to it, people came over from Weymouth and Wyke and the watch keepers all said it was nice to enjoy an event rather than be stuck behind a stall.” The highlight of the day was a private auction in which Dr. Hill volunteered to sit in the stocks while guests bid for the chance to throw a cream pie in his face. "Coastwatch is such an important charity for our family," said Alex. "We lost a family member at sea and Coastwatch was a huge part of that and continue to be the eyes and ears of the coastal area around Portland. They are vitally important, especially now that the helicopter has gone."

Geoff Peters, Station manager at NCI Portland Bill said: "This is the second year Alex and Peter have arranged a day to fundraise for their local Coastwatch institution, and who would have thought last year’s fantastic amount could have been exceeded? Although, I am glad my silent bid wasn’t quite the highest as I couldn’t possibly have been the one to throw a cream pie after Dr Hill helped to raise so much money for the lookout."

NCI Portland Bill has more than 65 highly trained volunteers who provide over 9,000 hours to the community each year. With no funding from either central or local government, the lookout relies entirely on public donations and fundraising events to secure the £8000 required each year just to keep the doors open.

The photograph (courtesy of The Dorset Echo) shows Alex Boatswain, Dr. Peter Hill and their family in the NCI lookout at Portland Bill.

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