York Rescue Boat founder to discuss project with council
Dave Benson, second right, of the new River Rescue Boat charity, talks to, from left, York Central MP Hugh Bayley, Ashley Mason, of Yormed, and City of York Council’s emergency planning co-ordinator, Jim Breen, last month
THE founder of the York Rescue Boat will meet the council this month to discuss developing the idea, including proposals for riverside CCTV cameras.
Dave Benson gained charitable status for the boat project earlier this month and said the recent tragic death of student Megan Roberts had encouraged people to support the move.
York St John University student Megan, 20, disappeared following a night out with friends in York on January 23. Her disappearance sparked extensive police searches in and around the River Ouse. Her body was found on Sunday, March 2.
Mr Benson met the council recently with a proposal he felt could help in future river incidents.
He said: “It was quite an informal chat really, I just put a proposal to them about a CCTV system I think should be added to the bridges in York.
“I think stationary cameras could be fitted which would cover the blind spots on the river. I have another meeting next week which I hope will progress it further.
“I have a feeling it will be down to finances. That’s obviously a factor, but I hope they are meeting to say whether it’s something that can really be phased in.”
Once operational, the York Rescue Boat would be manned by volunteers and would patrol the river when people were most at risk of falling or jumping in.
The charity needs between £50,000 and £60,000 to get started, and a charity ball could be held this summer to launch the appeal.
Mr Benson said: “We’re getting some collection pots out at the moment and having meetings looking for potential sponsors and generally organising the next step with fundraising.
“Now we’re registered it’s getting pretty intense and we’ve got about 11 volunteers now, so we’ll have a meeting with all of them and decide how we can move forward.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on social media.
“People have even stopped me in the street saying we’re doing a good job and something needs to be done.
“Some people say they don’t see how it would work, but at the end of the day it’s something that, if it just saves one life, it’s worth it.”
• To support the rescue boat, email email@example.com or tweet @yorkrescueboat
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