28th March 2023, HRH The Princess Royal, as Royal Patron of the National Coastwatch Institution, visited the NCI Felixstowe station. Afterwards, she attended a reception at the Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe.   

 HRH The Princess Royal was received at the station at Old Fort Road, Felixstowe by His Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Mr Steven Fletcher DL, who presented the NCI Chairman Mr Clive Pouncey and Station Manager of NCI Felixstowe, Mr Nick Barrett White.   

 The station is located on top of the historic Martello Tower ‘P’, which was built from some 750,000 bricks during the Napoleonic wars. In 1996, the tower’s lookout became the home of the volunteer watchkeepers of NCI Felixstowe, having formerly occupied a site shared with Alby’s Beach Café. Their task is to maintain a daylight watch on the coast and at sea, 365 days a year. It is a wholly volunteer organisation with over 2,650 highly trained Watchkeepers working from 59 stations around England and Wales. They report to HM Coastguard and their prime task is the protection and preservation of life around our coasts. With the help of multiple cameras, the NCI crew now have a wide view of Felixstowe’s beaches, inshore waters and the Harwich approaches, one of the busiest shipping areas in the UK with its three lane traffic separation channel for commercial traffic.   

 After a tour of the station where The Princess Royal met on-duty watchkeepers, The Princess Royal  attended a reception for NCI Watchkeepers and guests at the Orwell Hotel. She was received by His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston who presented NCI Trustee Ian Whalley, and civic guests including Councillor Jenny Ceresa, Chairman, East Suffolk Council, Mr Christopher Bally, Chief Executive, East Suffolk Council and Councillor Sharon Harkin, Mayor of Felixstowe.   

 Mr Clive Pouncey, NCI Chair said: “Her Royal Highness is a committed and enthusiastic supporter of National Coastwatch. As a Royal Patron she devotes much time to our cause and we are deeply grateful for her Patronage”.  

 HRH The Princess Royal graciously unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the station and presented long service awards to:   

(Five years’ service:) Raoul Coppens-Browne, David Sharples, Chris Needs   

(10 years’ service:) Peter Finch, Linda Lawrence, NCI Head of Operations and a posthumous award for 10 years’ service to Mrs Inge Milsom for Julian Milsom.   

 Among the organisations represented at the event were: HM Coastguard Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team; RNLI, RNLI Harwich; East Suffolk Council and Harwich Haven Authority.   

The photograph shows  SM Nick Barrett White and DSM Colin Hewitt in the lookout with HRH The Princess Royal

Related Lookout Station