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Coastwatch duty begins at Porthcawl’s Old Pilot Lookout Tower

23 May 2016

The restoration of the Old Pilot Lookout Tower on Porthcawl seafront is fully complete, with volunteers from the National Coastwatch Institution having manned it for the first time last weekend.

After receiving fantastic support from the local community, a team of volunteers are manning the iconic tower – initially on weekends only – to help spot danger so that amateur sailors and fishermen can stay safe.

Heritage Lottery Funding, together with contributions from Bridgend County Borough Council, Cadw and the NCI has all helped to restore the 150-year-old building to its former glory through the Porthcawl Townscape Heritage Initiative.

The new station was officially opened last Friday by Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones and Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon, and Councillor Charles Smith, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “It’s wonderful to see this historic waterfront building brought back into use. From being in a dilapidated condition, it has been given replacement windows, doors and roofing, while the external staircase has also been renewed.

“Following its restoration, we were pleased to then transfer the building to the National Coastwatch Institution earlier this year, and their operations will make a substantial contribution in helping Porthcawl’s coastline become even safer.”

Station Manager Phillip Jones said: “We are absolutely delighted to be fully operational and we hope to establish the station as integral part of the search and rescue operations along the South Wales coast.

“We’re conducting both offshore and onshore surveillance to help keep users of the coastline safe, and we’ll be reporting back to the Milford Haven Coastguard.

“Over the past few months we’ve been training volunteers left, right and centre. The response has been wonderful and we even have a waiting list. If anyone else is interested then we’d love to hear from them too, as although we are starting with a weekend watch only, our aim is to quickly expand so that we can have enough qualified watch-keepers to offer a service on every single day of the year. So, if you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at the new Porthcawl watch station should call 01656 769291, while further details about the National Coastwatch Institution can be found at www.nci.org.uk

Last Updated: 25/05/2016
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