It was our privilege as members of the Heritage Society to visit the newly built RNLI station in Burry Port, being the very first such community group to do so.
We were addressed by Roger Bowen, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager (one of three generations of his family to be involved with Burry Port RNLI). He informed us that a lifeboat station had been located at Burry Port harbour since 1887, though operations had ceased in the mid twentieth century and were reinstated in 1973. The RNLI had outgrown the old station and a need for a new one was identified officially in 2012 with proposals for redevelopment of the harbour, and growth in demand for their assistance. The crew and local community welcomed this, and were delighted to have the official opening ceremony four days prior to our visit.
Roger told us that an estimated 1500 lives had been saved over the years, and he elaborated on the work of the 32 local, volunteer crew members and their 'B' and 'D' class lifeboats, who can be followed on their Facebook pages. We were taken on a tour of the impressive new, sympathetically designed building and its facilities, and shown how crew members give freely of their time, effort and energy in order to be ready to save lives at sea and on the coast; they do not merely embody a 'can do' or even a 'should do' attitude, but more of a 'will do' approach in order to assist those in peril, and they are to be lauded for this.
It is clear that Burry Port now has two iconic buildings straddling its harbour and identifying it as a place of safety: the old lighthouse built in 1842; and the brand new RNLI Station, opened in 2019.
As a Heritage Society, we are extremely grateful to Roger, and to all crew members and volunteers who hosted us for the evening. We wish them all well for the future, and for their Open Day on Sunday 6th October 2019.We would urge all residents of our community to visit and support the work of these outstanding people and of this essential facility.