Monday, 3rd July 2017

There is no messing about on the river for Merchant Navy cadets who are spending 24-hours floating on the Tyne for an intrepid charity challenge.
Braving the elements – including an expected westerly wind and night chill - they will huddle in a survival raft, tethered to a jetty only by rope from midday on Monday, July 3.
Ten cadets from South Shields Marine School have volunteered for a venture which aims to raise at least £500 for good causes.
They donned survival suits – and were able to request sea sickness tablets - before they stepped into the inflatable.
The group are in the River Tyne close to the Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre (MOST) in South Shields, one of UK’s foremost offshore instruction bases and operated by the marine school.
Lecturers from the marine school, which is part of South Tyneside College, are on hand to ensure they remain safe, fed – and can access land for brief comfort breaks.
The event is supporting the college’s Dr Winterbottom Charity Fund, which provides small grants for students at home and educational initiatives overseas, and the Sea Cadets.
Gary Hindmarch, Principal of South Shields Marine School, said: “This is a tremendous challenge which is raising money for two very good causes.
“Luckily for the cadets, the weather looks quite good during these 24 hours, although there will be a wind blowing from the west at times, and it will get cold.
“We thought about holding the event in the specialist training pool at the offshore centre, but being on the river is a different kind of challenge.
“All those taking part volunteered to do so, which is great, and I’m sure it will be an experience to remember.”
He added: “Although they will feel the river’s force, one of their main things they are likely to have to overcome is boredom.
“No matter how bad, conditions will be quite different to those they could expect if they were involved in a real incident at sea and had to seek survival in a life raft.
“That would be a situation that I hope none of these cadets ever face during their careers – it can be at least 24 hours before those at sea are found and picked up.
“I hope people will support this event and help us to reach our fundraising target.”
The volunteers have undertaken specialist survival training at MOST as a requirement of their marine school cadet programme.
MOST delivers a range of training to those working offshore in environments including oil rigs and wind farms.
Facilities include a 4m-deep environmental pool for survival training, full scale access ladder to replicate windfarm access arrangements, a variable wave pattern generator, wind, rain, light and sound effects, and an eight-seater helicopter escape module.
Each year it is used by over 100 companies to train in excess of 3,000 people.
The centre also has a two-storey enclosed spaces building which provides a state-of-the-art environment for teaching how to avoid injury or loss of life in an emergency.
The Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund is named in honour of Victorian philanthropist, Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom.
His financial legacy led to the founding in 1861 of the original marine school on which South Tyneside College has grown.
The fund gives small grants to students in need of short-term educational help, supports UK students to study and progress more effectively, and backs budding college entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the raft fundraising event can do so via the Just Giving website at