Watersports charity marks special birthday milestone

Some of those who have helped with the Coquet Shorebase Trust, with the birthday cake. Picture by Bartle Rippon/The Ambler
Some of those who have helped with the Coquet Shorebase Trust, with the birthday cake. Picture by Bartle Rippon/The Ambler

A party has been held to help mark a birthday milestone for Amble’s Coquet Shorebase Trust.

The community-based charity located at The Braid utilises water-based activity to enhance the lives of people of all ages from eight years old and over.

The anniversary celebrations, which were held earlier this month, honoured 25 years since the Trust was formed.

However, the Shorebase story actually started in the 1950s, when nautical training courses were run by Amble County Modern School.

In 1992 though, the Shorebase was threatened with closure, as the County Education Committee, which had directly funded it, was unable to continue to do so.

But, thanks to the sterling efforts of Amble Town Council and members of the Coquet Canoe Club and Coquet Sailing Club, and a mass protest outside County Hall to present a petition with 2,000 signatures on it, the authority agreed to lease the premises and equipment to a voluntary organisation to be set up to run it.

At an open meeting on June 3, 1992, a management committee was formed and the Coquet Shorebase Trust was on its way.

Trust manager Vic Brown said: “Twenty-five years later and the Coquet Shorebase Trust is still providing affordable watersports training and recreation to the local community, supporting three clubs – canoeing, sailing and windsurfing.

“We’ve come a long way and we’ve now got two new buildings to take us forward for the next 25 years.

“As a charity, we work with all sections of the community. A principle aim of our community activity is to help those who feel disenfranchised to develop the self confidence to become active members of the local community.

“We cater for all ages and we are registered with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority.”

Pictured round the cake are Ian Hinson; Sarah Mitchell; Dave Burke; Mora Rolley; John and Sally Rae; Sue Owen; Jacquie Chilcott; Debbie Mowatt, who organised the petition; and Vic Brown.

Vic added: “Many hundreds of people have benefited from the work of the Trust over the years, and they owe it all to these people, and those who couldn’t make it on the day, such as Robert Arckless and Lord Beith, who helped to make it happen.”

In April last year, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, went to the Trust to meet volunteers, trustees and users of the watersports facilities, as part of a Royal visit to Amble.

The Coquet Shorebase Trust also has a presence at Druridge Bay.

For more information, visit www.coquetshorebase.org.uk or call 01665 710367.