Supporters Events

Portland Marina Open Days

By Ron Brooks

In recent years a Fish & Ships Boat and Food Festival was staged at Portland Marina by the operators Dean & Reddyhoff. These drew in the crowds who enjoyed the food, other stalls and stands, music and visiting groups and clubs which included vintage cars, motorbikes and cyclists among others.  However, this detracted from the aim of the festival to promote the facilities and activities in and around the Marina.  This year a different approach was undertaken in the form of a live marina open days on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of June.  The open days were intended for anyone interested in boats, boating and water based activities to come along to find out how to get involved and to have a go.

An invitation to attend was taken up by NCI Portland Bill as this was an opportunity to promote our operation and to engage with the marine community, newcomers and others.  Also attendance maintains our links with Dean & Reddyhoff, who operate Portland and Weymouth Marina’s and are regular contributors to and supporters of our operation.

On Saturday morning it was sunny but breezy, we were located on the grassed area facing the marina pontoons and across Weymouth Bay.  It was quiet in terms of visitors so Julian Andrews and James Kirkpatrick took the initiative to visit the boats in the marina armed with Channel 65 cards.  One notable contact they made was Christine Swain the new Commodore of Portland Yacht Club, who requested a presentation on our operation.

As the day wore on visitor numbers remained quiet also the weather deteriorated later in the day.  Having consulted with the Marina Manager and members of the team and with the weather forecast indicating rain and strong winds for Sunday it was decided to cancel our attendance on the 4th.

We were pleased to receive an invitation from the Marina Manager Russ Levett to utilise the Marina for fund raising should we have any proposals.


Easton and Fortuneswell Co-op Stores and Customers Support Local Charities

As part of the Co-op ‘Divi’ reintroduction scheme, whereby customers with a Co-op card receive a cashback based upon the total value of CWS products.The Co-op also offer a 1% cashback divided between nominated charities. On Wednesday 19th April 2017 a party of watchkeepers from NCI Portland Bill attended the presentation of nominated charity cheques and were both pleased and surprised in equal measure to receive a cheque for £1,942.00.

This donation will be used to help maintain our search and rescue equipment at the Portland Bill Look-out and thereby assist us in our monitoring watch on the waters around Portland Bill, thereby helping us to provide assistance, if required, to all users of those waters whether   professional, amateur, commercial or leisure.

The team at the presentation led by Stan Zapiec, together with the whole of NCI-Portland Bill watchkeeping team, thank all of the Easton and Fortuneswell Co-op  stores customers and staff for making this tremendous donation possible.

Welcome support from the Angling Club

Those present at the cheque presentation left to right: Richard Moass & Ron Brooks (Watchkeepers), Polly Jordan (Angling Club Secretary), Maurice Pickford (Organiser & Producer of the Calendar), Geoff Peters, Station Manager & Watchkeeper Carole Norrie

Portland Angling Club surprised Coastwatch Portland Bill’s Station Manager, Geoff Peters, with a cheque for £2338 during a recent presentation at Easton Conservative Club. Members of the Angling Club had previously stripped off for a calendar in 2015 which also raised funds for the Lookout. This year saw the theme ’50 Shades of Fishnets’ when members swapped their fishing nets for various styles and shades of fishnet stockings and posed, scantily clad, at numerous island locations.

Geoff praised Maurice Pickford, the originator and everyone who took part in making the 2017 Calendar possible and thanked them all for their contribution, whether it was by posing or contributing to the cost of production in what he said had to be the best kept island secret as none of the Watchkeepers at Portland Bill had heard anything about the forthcoming production so it came as a wonderful and very welcome surprise.


Thank You Easton Co-op

The photograph shows staff member Joanne on the left with Ellen in the centre and store manager Angie Lawrence on the right.

On Saturday 21st January Stan Zapiec and Ellen went to the Co-op in Easton to publicise the Co-op scheme whereby the monies received from carrier bag sales over a three months period is distributed to local charities. The Portland Bill coastwatch team were very pleased to be included in the list of charities that will benefit from this excellent initiative.




A Portland Fisherman risks life and limb to catch the big one from the West Shambles Buoy. See him and the rest of the fishermen in the 2017 Portland Fishermen’s Calendar

Portland anglers have once again bared all for a charity calendar in aid NCI Portland Bill. Keen fisherman and friends of the Portland Angling Club swapped their fishing nets for fishnets in a series of risqué photographs to raise money for the station. The calendar follows on from the 2014 calendar, which saw the anglers strip down to raise £3,500 for the National Coastwatch Institution.

Maurice Pickford, a builder from Portland, organised the aptly named ‘50 names of fishnets’ wall calendar. He said: “We still have a lot to sell and if we could sell another 250 this year then I would be really chuffed. It was quite easy to get people involved, quite a lot of people volunteered straight away. This year we have included friends of the club, nobody really wants to see the anglers without their clothes on again.”

The calendar shows the fisherman and friends in an array of brightly coloured stockings artfully arranged in festive and coastal scenes. Maurice said: “We decided to raise money for Coastwatch because we fish and we are always out on boats so it’s a little bit of security around us. We all know people who have lost their lives around here and maybe we can help put a stop to it. We know there have been cut backs with the helicopter and things on Portland, so hopefully we can help make a small difference.”

Geoff Peters, Station manager at Portland Bill, said: “Every bit of money that we get we have to get ourselves, except when people come in and do things for us like this calendar. We are a working charity which means that every day we need to find nine people to man the watch station as well as completing various essential Fundraising activities to maintain the high level of service we offer the public at the Lookout”.

Photograph courtesy of Maurice Pickford


A Christmas Carol Event in Poundbury in aid of Coastwatch Portland Bill


Cheque presentation by Sonia Morris on behalf of the Community Choir to NCI Portland Bill Watchkeepers from left to right Ron Brooks, Jonathan Farmiloe, Michael Gregory and Bas Wright.

On the 8th December there was a local gathering in the Engine Room Restaurant in Poundbury to sing carols led by the Community Choir, and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies kindly sponsored by the Poundbury Residents Association. The occasion was arranged by Sonia Morris of the Brownsword Events Committee and Ginny Farmiloe (a committee member) had nominated NCI Portland Bill to benefit from the collection that was held on the night, and this amounted to £173 in our tins.  It was a festive occasion with many carols being sung by one and all including the attending watchkeepers (with apologies for any omissions!) being Michael Gregory, Bas Wright, Ron Brooks, Stan Zapiec, Len Heath, Pamela Bradford, Paul Sapsworth, Jonathan Farmiloe, and some of their partners, who all joined in the singing in fine voice. They had braved coming out on a very foggy night, which sadly meant that the numbers were a little less than in previous years, but we would like to offer thanks to all those who so generously supported the occasion.


A good news story by good people…..

Fellow tug skippers Andy Straw and Neil Roberts both followed their fathers’ chosen careers by working at Portland Port on the small craft, under the Port Auxiliary Service Ensign and latterly the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, which was prior to Portland’s naval Dockyard being sold to commercial interests.


A selection of Chris Webb’s Tugboat Models

Andy & Neil thought it would be a great idea to try to reunite their fathers with their old shipmates for a reunion.  Shortly after creating a Face book page to set about tracing their ex colleagues a reunion was arranged and a ‘Brotherhood’ was formed, known as PAS/RMAS Portland. Sadly one of the Brethren, Chris Webb, who had a long standing hobby of creating scratch model tugboats, passed away. The vast collection of models was kindly donated to the group by his widow Marilyn.

With Marilyn’s permission Andy & Neil set up an Auction of the models and the group agreed that the funds raised should go to Coastwatch, Portland Bill. Marilyn’s kind gesture and the generosity of the PAS/RMAS members who also sold PAS/RMAS badges amounted to a substantial sum of money.


Andy Straw, Marilyn Webb, Geoff Peters, Stan Zapiec, Eleanor Fitzgeorge-Parker and Neil Roberts at the cheque presentation. Photograph by Roger Sutherland

The Portland group continue to meet regularly, much to the delight of Andy & Neil who were delighted to present NCI Portland Bill Coastwatch Station with the donation recently at the Lookout Training Centre.  Needless to say the volunteers at Coastwatch would like to express their thanks to Marilyn for kindly donating Chris’s models and to members of PAS/RMAS for their generous support.




John Huggins, Alex Boatswain, Dr Peter Hill, Geoff Peters and Di Chester at Portland Bill Coastwatch station.

A Portland family from Southwell have raised over a thousand pounds for NCI Portland Bill – in just four hours.

Alex Boatswain and her partner Dr Peter Hill raised £1025 for the National Coastwatch Institution station at Portland Bill at a garden party held in their Southwell home. The afternoon was a fully-fledged family affair including children’s games, home-made cakes and a crab and lobster sea food buffet caught by a family fisherman just off Portland. Afterwards, the Coastwatch team invited us out to Portland Bill for the day to see exactly what they do, which was really interesting, they work incredibly hard and save hundred of lives”

In May this year an intruder broke into the Coastwatch station causing £1,500 worth of damage. Alex, who runs a beauty salon on the island, said: “We decided to host the party because we heard about the break-in and wanted to do something to help the situation. We are a local family and have done some fundraising for them in the past. We had a lot of support from friends and family but I never expected to make that much.

Station manager Geoff Peters said “Since the break-in we have incurred a great deal of expense by adding to the existing security systems. As a watch we spend a lot of time collecting money at supermarkets and coffee mornings, that sort of thing, but those events usually only raise £200 to £300”

 Geoff, who has been the station manager since 2004, added: “I was both shocked and stunned at the result. I would like to say to Alex & Peter and all those family members and neighbours a massive ‘Thank you’ from the Coastwatch team”. The money raised will go towards installing new security cameras and upgrading the fence and lighting equipment to ensure Coastwatch are not caught out in the future.

Pam the Flyer

By Len Heath


Pam Hawker handing over the sponsorship donation to NCI-Portland Bill Senior Watchkeeper, Ron Brooks


Pam Hawker and Ron Brooks with Pam’s supporters at the Laughing Arch cheque presentation.

This is the story of Pam the Flyer, it is a story of great courage by Pam Hawker on behalf of her chosen charity, Pam was originally a member of The Royal Exchange  Intrepid 6 team which last year did a free fall parachute jump on behalf of Portland Bill Coastwatch, unfortunately Pam was prevented from jumping with the team at the time, she however vowed to undertake the jump as soon as possible and has now achieved her task and following her epic jump, Pam presented senior watchkeeper Ron Brooks with the sponsors donations on
Thursday 27th October at Whitestone’s, Easton Square, Portland. Although Pam was aware of the work of NCI-Portland Bill Coastwatch Ron Brooks was able to give Pam more detailed information on the duties and responsibilities of watchkeepers.


Pam and Ron enjoy very creamy coffee after the presentation.

The Coastwatch team would like to give our special thanks to Pam for her support and assure her that her donation will be used in helping us with our purpose of looking out for Pam and Ron enjoy very creamy coffee after the presentation.all who either work at sea or take their leisure in the sea around the island, particularly because most of the islanders have either family working or having links with the sea.


‘Ancient Order of Foresters’ Cheque Presentation

by Stan Zapiec


The photograph shows Stan with the Chief Ranger and Dr Atterbury following the presentation.

Volunteers from the NCI Portland Bill lookout were invited to attend a cheese and wine evening on 8th October, organised by “Honorary Court Highclere No1 Weymouth of the Ancient Order of Foresters”. Guest speaker on the evening was Dr Paul Atterbury, well known as a presenter on the BBC’s “Antiques Roadshow”, who gave a fascinating insight into his background and involvement with the popular TV programme.

The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for NCI Portland Bill which was the preferred charity of Chief Ranger, Alderman Andy Hutchings, for his year of office. After the talk a cheque for £1,000 was presented to NCI Portland Bill’s Publicity Officer, Stan Zapiec who expressed his extreme gratitude on behalf of all the volunteers at Portland Bill.


NatWest Weymouth Branch Collection Event

by: R Brooks

Following a major refurbishment and update of the Weymouth Branch of the NatWest Bank a relaunch took place from 3rd to 7th of May. National Coastwatch Institution were

The Branch Manager is shown with some of the Portland Bill Team who took part in the event.

The Branch Manager is shown with some of the Portland Bill Team who took part in the event.

the nominated charity for the week and NCI Portland Bill were invited by the Branch Manager Carly Ings to participate in a charity collection day during the relaunch. The event took place inside the bank where the team were able to set up a display and were provided with refreshments. This was a new experience for Portland Bill Team who are more accustomed to supermarket /store collections in often draughty foyer/entrance areas.



Fish and Ships Festival 2016

Ron Brooks

Watchkeepers on Saturday morning duty at Fish and Ships 2016

Watchkeepers on Saturday morning duty at Fish and Ships 2016

The festival took place at Portland Marina on Saturday 9 April attended by a team from PBNCI. The event was scheduled for two days, however, due to a strong easterly wind warnings for Sunday the second day was cancelled.

A promising fair weather start to the day quickly turned to heavy rain and wind gusts just as we delivered the equipment to the site location. When the rain eventually stopped it remained dark and dismal and the first meaningful football did not happen until noon time.

WW2 Vessel 'Medusa' open to the public in the Marina at Fish and Ships 2016

WW2 harbour defense Vessel ‘Medusa’ open to the public in the Marina at Fish and Ships 2016

Then the sun came out for the rest of the day and so did the visitors, it was busy and buzzing all afternoon. As with previous Fish and Ships events the team enjoyed the experience and the location of the stand, right next to the walkway along the waterfront. There was a fair few visitors with the usual mix of casual visitors, potential joiner enquiries and boat owners including some that stated they have or intend to pass/round The Bill and welcomed the opportunity to chat.

F&S 2016 (3)

Watchkeepers watching the photographer at Fish and Ships 2016

This was the third Fish and Ships Festival and the number of stands and exhibitors has increased to the extent that the organisers are running out of space. A highlight was the opportunity to visit the restored WW2 harbour defence vessel Medusa.



The ‘Codfather’ makes us an offer we can’t refuse

Codfather Donation

Paul Merry presents the cheque for £255 to Stan at ‘Codfather’ Fish and Chips .

On Wednesday 27th January Senior Watchkeeper Stan Zapiec was summoned to the ‘Codfather’s’ premises at Codfather Fish & Chips, Weston Road, Weston on Portland where he was made an offer he could not refuse. Once there the ‘Codfather’ Paul, in the presence of his wife Donna, who took the photograph, presented Stan with a cheque for £255. Paul Merry told Stan that it was a pleasure to donate to Portland Bill Coastwatch and he thanked the team for all their hard work on behalf of Portland.

Sheila Belsten led the Portland Coastwatch team and made initial contact with Paul and Donna Merry. Sheila and the whole team would like to thank Paul and Donna Merry for this much appreciated donation particularly because donations are our only means of support and the team feel proud of all the generosity and support they get from the people of Portland.

Thank You Again Matalan Weymouth

160113 Matalan Presentation (2)

Ron Brooks visited the store and presented Customer Services Manager Sara Mowlam with a certificate of thanks.

In Spring of 2015 of National Coastwatch Institution Portland Bill charity collection tins were placed in the Matalan Weymouth store. This has proved invaluable by increasing public awareness and raising funds to contribute to the operation of the Coastwatch Lookout at Portland Bill. In recognition of this, collection co-ordinator Ron Brooks and assistant Richard Moass visited the store and presented Customer Services Manager Sara Mowlam with a certificate of thanks.

The certificate states “On behalf of the Portland Bill NCI Team, the Station Manager has great pleasure in awarding this Certificate of thanks to Matalan (Weymouth) for their valued and loyal support of the Coastwatch at Portland Bill, through fundraising and promoting our cause by achieving the highest amount in their collection tins in 2015.

On behalf of the Store Manager Anne Souster and the Staff, a delighted Sara accepted the certificate and said this would be placed on the wall in the main office to mark the occasion.

Ron Brooks 13/01/2016