A potentially live-saving beach webcam has been wrecked by the recent storms.

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And now Coastwatch volunteers are calling on the public to help them raise £2,500 to replace the vital facility.

The Exmouth National Coastwatch Institution’s HQ has been above the Harbour View Café since 1998.

And for the last eight years a webcam has been available for use by the public, allowing them to assess sea conditions.

But recent gales last week battered the tower – and although there was no structural damage, there was water damage to the floor of the control room.

But the main concern is that the camera was damaged beyond repair.

NCI manager Mike Fowler said: “The webcam is a vital public service.

“It is primarily used by windsurfers, beach users, fisherman and casual waters users.

“Before going into the sea, people can sit in the comfort of their own homes and gauge what the sea conditions are like.

“They can make an informed judgement whether it is safe to go into the sea or not. It is a vital service and needs to be replaced.”

But, as a registered charity, Coastwatch depends on the generosity of the public, firms and sponsors.

NCI fundraising officer Gordon Betteridge said: “The actual camera we are looking to replace it with, including the fittings and installation, will cost around £2,500.

“The camera has been there for some time and has served its purpose.

“But the camera we are looking to purchase would enable us to zoom in on a particular area of the beach by using a joystick in the tower.

“So if we spotted an incident, we would be better informed on what is needed to perhaps save a life or save a vessel and the information could then be relayed to the lifeboat station or coastguard.”

If you would like to make a contribution, collection tins are in shops around the town and there will be a collection bucket in the town hall.

You can also call Gordon on 01395 224890, or email him at betteridge1@btinternet.com

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