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Lifeboat volunteers get stuck into flood rescue training in Norfolk canal

PUBLISHED: 11:02 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 26 October 2018

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

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Think of lifeboats, and most imagine vessels launching into choppy seas.

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal TrustMundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

But all along Norfolk’s vulnerable coastline, crews must also hone their flood-rescue skills to prepare for the approach of winter.

And one group of north Norfolk

lifeboat volunteers have been brushing up on their techniques in an unexpected location.

Volunteers from the Mundesley Independent Lifeboat left their seaside home and headed five miles inshore to the North Walsham and Dilham Canal, to practise their swift-water rescue and water-entry methods.

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal TrustMundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Coxswain Colin Plummer brought a group of volunteers to the canal at Ebridge.

Mr Plummer said: “It’s very useful for us to have the canal nearby.

“It’s close and very convenient.”

The 12-strong group included juniors, and they were kept busy refining their techniques, in and out of the water.

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal TrustMundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

The lifeboat men and women, from the 20-plus Mundesley, crew were practising saving lives in situations like the storm surge of 2013, just upstream from the walkers, fishermen and model-boat enthusiasts enjoying Ebridge Mill Pond.

When the biggest storm surge for 60 years hit Norfolk in December 2013, the crew helped to rescue 42 people from their flooded homes in Walcott, alongside the Walcott Emergency Volunteers Association (WEVA).

Ivan Cane, chairman of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, said he was very pleased that the restored section of the 19th-century waterway was in regular use by so many sections of the community.

Mr Cane said: “The canal at Ebridge can offer the local community a water-based facility, which we hope that other organisations will use.

Mundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal TrustMundesley Independent Lifeboat crew members training on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

“We look forward to groups looking to organise raft races, duck races, paddle-boarding experiences - maybe even a group performing Handel’s Water Music from a pontoon in the middle of the pool.”

North Walsham and Dilham Canal is Norfolk’s only sailing canal with locks, and was originally nearly nine miles long.

The trust was set up in 2008, and is working on the restoration of other stretches of the canal.

Volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed, and anyone interested should contact the trust through its website: www.nwdct.org or via its Facebook page.

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