Town bids to host lifesaving contest

Exmouth Exmouth

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
9:48 AM

Exmouth is the front runner to host the national surf lifesaving championships next summer – something that could boost the local economy by £400,000.

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And it’s our two miles of golden sands that could be the clincher, writes David Beasley.

On Monday, town councillors backed the bid to host the event, which if successful would see 1,000 competitors from 70 clubs around the UK coming to Exmouth.

The annual six-day championships celebrates and tests the fitness and skills of lifesavers of all ages, which are vital in order to save thousands of lives around Britain’s coastline.

Competitors in three age groups, aged seven and upwards, would compete in a variety of disciplines including two kilometre runs, a triathlon, swimming, relays and craft-based events.

The three towns in the running are to host the event are Exmouth, Bournemouth and Torquay.

Exmouth’s David Tiball, who is making the bid, told councillors: “We have been told behind the scenes that Exmouth is the number one choice.

“And if we are successful we could end up hosting the competition at least the year after and for possibly the next five years.”

Responding to concerns that the event would use much of the beach during the peak holiday period, he added: “The impact, rather than being negative and taking up space, I think would provide a pull and bring more people to the beach, to Exmouth, and give them something to do during a time when not a lot is going on.”

Councillor Mark Williamson said: “We need to showcase Exmouth and find different ways of doing that.

“And right out of the blue, like a rabbit out of a hat, we have this request.

“I would give this wholehearted support, and I have heard this will be managed in such a way as to ensure that there is no conflict with normal beach users.

“Our two miles of golden sands are something to celebrate.”

Deputy mayor Bill Nash said: “A national competition will put Exmouth on the map. It will show Exmouth at its best.”

Councillor Pat Graham said: “We need to grab the opportunity with both hands. No more talking about it – let’s do it.”

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