20th June 2019. Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson has made another generous gift to his native region, with a donation to help rebuild the NCI station at Cromer

Last winter's storms finished off the old station rendering it unsafe to use but, subject to planning permission being granted, a new more robust watch station is being designed. The watch station provides the eyes along the Norfolk coast to plot, spot and report, not only marine traffic that may need assistance, but also to identify incidents involving holiday makers, surf and paddle boarders, and divers who enjoy this beautiful stretch of coastline.

Linda Lawrence, from NCI's Operations Support Group, would not reveal exactly how much money Sir James had contributed towards the project, but she said it was "a substantial amount".

She said: "The project will cost about £20,000. All the money is in place and we are now just waiting for planning permission. It will take about six weeks to build the new station and we are hoping to get it all done by the school summer holidays. Other community groups have also given funding towards the new station. The funding means that CCTV and other electronic aids can be planned in order to extend the coverage along the shoreline and beyond, especially as future exercises are planned with Cromer lifeboat."

Along with his generosity, Sir James has agreed to become NCI Cromer's Honorary Patron.

The National Coastwatch Institution currently has 54 watch stations around the coastline, and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary as a voluntary organisation.

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Currently 56 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2500 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Rossall  Point in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.


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