Nor­folk peo­ple: Allen Frary, lifeboat coxswain

Country Life Every Week - - Visual Treasures -

THERE are records of a lifeboat at Wells as far back as 1830. Allen Frary, who is its me­chanic as well as chair­man of the town coun­cil, grew up with tales from his grand­fa­ther, one of only two sur­vivors of the lifeboat dis­as­ter of 1880, when they went out in the Great Gale. He started as a vol­un­teer in 1976.

‘The res­cue that had the big­gest im­pact on me was when we were called out to a day boat that had cap­sized coming out of Burn­ham Overy,’ he re­calls. ‘We knew our house­man and our club sec­re­tary’s son were on board. We picked up their bod­ies later that day. They had life­jack­ets on, but must have died of hy­pother­mia.’

He adds that it’s dif­fi­cult to keep a full crew, as prop­erty in town is so ex­pen­sive for lo­cals. ‘We’re now find­ing the tourist in­dus­try is nearly a 12-month cy­cle. There’s got to be progress, but it has to be con­trol­lable.’ Mr Frary says that there aren’t the char­ac­ters there used to be, but a col­league who pops into the sta­tion while we’re talk­ing in­ter­jects: ‘You’re one of the char­ac­ters now.’ Find out more at http://lifeboat­sta­tion­pro­ject.com

Pas­tel-coloured houses lin­ing The Gang­way, one of Cromer’s pret­ti­est streets

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