Can you play a part in the future of team which celebrates our seafaring past?

A history team is recruiting new members as it celebrates a bumper year for visitors.

More than 34,000 people have visited East Durham Heritage and Lifeboat Centre in Seaham Marina during the last 12 months, with its visitors’ book recording guests from across the world.

The East Durham Heritage Centre, in Seaham Marina, is a source of pride for members of the history group.

The East Durham Heritage Centre, in Seaham Marina, is a source of pride for members of the history group.

The centre, which opened in May 2013, is staffed solely by volunteers as they pass on information about the area’s maritime, industrial and social heritage.

Its members have built up an archive of hundreds of photographs to view and copies for guests to buy.

Visitors are also welcome to view the RNLB George Elmy, which was restored over a four-year period which culminated in its sea-bound return in June 2013, completing a journey it started in 1962 when it launched to save the fishermen of The Economy which ended in disaster with the loss of the crew and four of the five on board The Economy.

The group’s latest project has been the commissioning of a memorial to all those who served at RNLI Seaham from the station’s opening in 1870 to its closure in 1979.

The group are always keen to meet members of the public who have an interest in heritage, who like meeting visitors and who can commit to being available for a few hours a month.

Ernie Cooper

The Coxswain, designed and crafted by South Hetton artist Ray Lonsdale, now stands on the East Quay of Seaham Marina facing seaward to remember those who risked their lives and the wellbeing of their families to save ‘those in peril’ off the County Durham coast.

Ernie Cooper, the group’s secretary, said: “The sustainability of the heritage centre depends on the group attracting sufficient numbers of enthusiastic volunteers to provide cover during the opening days.
“The group are always keen to meet members of the public who have an interest in heritage, who like meeting visitors and who can commit to being available for a few hours a month.”

Anyone interested in being part of the team can call to the centre during opening hours, 11am until 3pm during the winter, Thursday to Sunday or email eastdurham1@btconnect.com or by calling (0191) 581 8904.

The centre is open from 10am until 3pm during summer months.

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