Norfolk people: Allen Frary, lifeboat coxswain
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