Film ID: NEFA 9859 Video of NEFA 9859 Access - Boulmer Lifeboat (1973) DB131 ACCESS: BOULMER LIFEBOAT 1973 Visitor TabsDescription A film produced by Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Services for the Tyne Tees Television series ‘Access’ and transmitted 10 September 1973 about the need of a lifeboat in the village of Boulmer following the closure of the RNLI [Royal National Lifeboat Institution] station in 1968. There are views of the Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Services boat ‘Sea Hunter’ being launched as well as views around the village. The film includes a number of interviews with both local men and women talking about the need for a lifeboat and the work that has been done so far to raise the necessary funds to buy and run a lifeboat service. The film opens on a man firing a rescue flare. A launch tractor pulls the boat ‘Sea Hunter’ from Station House down onto the beach. A crowd of people follow on behind. A sign above Station House reads ‘Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Service’. From a moving car there is a view of a row of terraced cottages. At the far end a fishing boat is moored out of the water beside other pieces of fishing equipment and pots. The film cuts to a painting showing an RNLI lifeboat rescuing a steam boat in stormy weather. The camera pans to the right to show a second painting of two RNLI boats at sea. There is an aerial view of the Northumbrian coastline near Boulmer showing clear water and rocky shoreline. From a small fishing boat travelling through a harbour a number of fishing trawlers are moored along a quayside. The film cuts to show an RNLI lifeboat, possibly the ‘Robert and Dorothy Hardcastle’ moored alongside another quay. Interview with a local fisherman near the beach who says that when the RNLI decided to close the lifeboat station the local community was up in arms and called a meeting attended by more than 150 and decided to raise the funds to buy their own lifeboat. Sitting in front of a large pile of lobster pots with a Boulmer cottage in the background Edward Garrett, secretary of Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Services, speaks directly to camera. He says that they managed to raise £8000 which came in from all over the country. They held coffee mornings, bring-and-buy sale, raffles and any other legitimate method to make money. The ‘Sea Hunter’ [a 24ft craft with a top speed of 30 knots] is seen being pulled out of Station House by launch tractor. There are various external and internal views of the boat. The film cuts to show an RAF Air-Sea Rescue helicopter coming in low over the camera. A man is lowered down by winch. The film cuts back to Mr Garrett speaking to camera who says that seven lives have been saved and that all the work and worry has been worthwhile. He advises that the crew of the boat will shortly receive awards for gallantry after they saved the lives of two fishermen and two RAF men in a rescue the year previously. There is an interview with one of the RAF men who is wearing a bright yellow rescue suit and helmet. He is certain that it was the Boulmer lifeboat that saved his and his colleagues lives when they fell into the water. He believes a lifeboat at Boulmer is quite necessary. The film cuts to an interview with a second fisherman who also served aboard the RNLI lifeboat. He begins by talking about the rescue of the RAF men which he was also involved in and that if he was called to do so would do it again. With regards the closure by the RNLI he says the community didn’t have any say in the matter. He had served on the lifeboat for twenty and a half years so was very disappointed when it happened. He believes this piece of Northumberland coastline requires some kind of rescue. There is a view of a wooden fishing vessel sitting on wooden blocks beside a stone cottage. The film cuts back to the second fisherman who says that they would have to depend on rescue from Amble. He continues by saying that the rescue helicopter wouldn’t fly at night so one of the local boats would have to go out. However, these boats can only do so much. Three old men sit on a stone bench. A fourth man stands beside them as they all chat. There is another view of Boulmer from a moving car. A woman with a pram stands chatting with two other people. In the front gardens of two of the cottages two older women sit; one is knitting. The film shows two posters for the ‘Boulmer Harbour Fete’. Interview with two women outside one of the stone cottages. The first one says that a lifeboat is very important. This has been proved by the service saving the lives of the RAF men. She says that Boulmer people save a lot of lives and it is essential to have life-savers which are reflected in the communities fundraising activities. The second woman says that there has been a very good local response to their appeal and they have been given items such as a half-gallon bottle of whiskey. The film cuts to the beach where two people are seen paddling in the sea. The camera pans left to show a large trawler marooned on the beach. The film cuts again to a couple sitting on deck-chairs in front of the trawler looking down onto the beach. Sitting beside them are two young girls in bathing costumes. The film cuts back to the first lady who says it is the lifesaving part they are most interested in. The second woman says the biggest thing they do to raise funds in the annual spring fete which raises on average £1000. This is organised by the ladies committee, but without the help of the men’s committee they wouldn’t cope. The women are asked if they think the Northumbrian coast is dangerous. The first lady says that for bathers the water isn’t dangerous, but only the other day a boat was caught near the rocks. The second woman says that with the growing number of people canoeing in the sea and not knowing the coastline then there is the potential for them to get into trouble. Both women agree that the stretch of Northumberland coast is too long not to have a lifeboat. The first lady says that in theory the decision to close the RNLI base at Boulmer must have seemed right, but it isn’t in practice. She continues by saying that she thought once it was closed then men from the village wouldn’t need to go out in dangerous seas, but after speaking with a local fisherman they all agreed that for sake of a bit of money and a boat they could save some lives. General view of various yachts and pleasure craft moored in a marina. Another view of these boats filmed from a boat in the water. The ‘Sea Hunter’ is reversed into the sea by the launch tractor. The film ends with a view of the wake produced by the ‘Sea Hunter’ as it speeds through the water. Context A helping hand for seafarers Having saved many lives over 160 years the men and women of Boulmer interviewed here show that this need to come to the rescue of those in danger at sea runs very deep. A deep rooted inclination to help others shines through in this simple portrait of people of the fishing community of Boulmer, running their own lifeboat after the RNLI withdrew its service in 1967. The dedication of the community is revealed in this self-made film, by action committee secretary Edward Garrett, produced to help raise funds for the struggling lifeboat to cover this very dangerous part of the Northumberland coast. This is the filmed part of an edition of the Tyne Tees Television programme 'Access', which included a discussion of the film. Access was one of the first television programmes, starting in 1973 along with Rowan Ayers’ Open Door on the BBC, to give an opportunity to local people to make their own films, with professional help. Boulmer has had a lifeboat since 1825, one of the earliest stations in the country, saving well over 230 lives. Since the RNLI decided to withdraw the service in 1968, it has been run entirely independently by the Boulmer Volunteer Rescue Service (BVRS), one of only a handful. It still relies entirely on donations.