Jane Billing’s Story


1994 Lifeboat Day

I was working on behalf of FFSC alongside the East Suffolk Water Ski Club preparing for a big RNLI fundraisng day. The event was set to be a big one, we were hoping to raise lots of money for the Harwich Lifeboat.

Lifeboat, RNLI

Our RNLI committee decided to ask the Red Arrows to do a flypast and arrange many fun things to do e.g. jousting, cake stalls, win a car stall, tombola and many more.

I invited Warren Mitchell (from a comedy programme called: “Til Death do us Part” and many more shows back in the 60’s and 70’s) and Griff Rhys Jones (from a sketch show called: “Not the Nine O’Clock News” and many more shows from the 1980’s onward). We were so pleased that both Warren and Griff agreed to come along and join us for the fun day. Warren was a good friend of our President; Carl Giles, cartoonist for the Daily Express, so he was certainly looking forward to good old catch-up.

The day before the event, we were setting up all the stalls ready for the expected crowds. The Red Arrows called us to say they were going to do a recce of the area and do a practice ‘Fly past’ that afternoon. After they flew over we had a telephone call at the clubhouse complaining about the noise. The lady said she thought it was like being in the ‘Blitz’ it was so noisy 😉 Ah well it was all for a good cause!

So the big day arrived, we were all set to accept loads of visitors taking loads of money for the Lifeboat. It was great to see so many volunteers from FFSC and ESWSC.

Red Arrows

Red Arrows Flypast

The Red Arrows told us that they would fly over at 2.13pm (very accurate).

The weather was great in the morning and many people decided to park their cars at the car park near the Golf Club and walk down to the Ferry. All perfect, it was all running really well and we saw many many people visit our lovely Lifeboat day.

Time was going well and we were bringing in the cash. The bar and galley was rammed with people too.

So just before 2.13pm the sea mist decided to come in land and the Red Arrows did their fly past at exactly 2.13pm, as promised. Unfortunately, all the people down at the Ferry didn’t see them because of the cloud and Waldringfield saw it all! Shock horror! All that hard work.

Still we reckon we got several hundred visitors and made £1,700 for the Lifeboat. So we achieved what we set out to do!

Sadly, I don’t have any photos of the actual event, but this photo was from another Lifeboat day.

Jane Billing