South Dorset MP calls on people to support the Portland Coastguard

Dorset Echo: HIGHLIGHTING THE CAUSE: Richard Drax MP speaking to helicopter campaigners HIGHLIGHTING THE CAUSE: Richard Drax MP speaking to helicopter campaigners

A NEW rallying call is being sounded to get 100,000 signatures on an e-petition to save the Portland Coastguard helicopter.

The fight to save the aircraft is heating up as people have been flocking to show their support.

Tens of thousands of people have signed a paper petition but just 12,452 have signed the online one.

The service is facing the axe in 2017 under government plans.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax is calling on everyone who wants the helicopter to stay in the area to sign both petitions so a debate can be triggered in the House of Commons.

Normally a debate will be triggered if 100,000 people sign up to it.

Mr Drax said: “We do need everyone and I mean everyone to get behind the e-petition in addition to the excellent paper petition.”

He added: “I’d urge anyone that has already signed the e-petition to tell their friends and family to do likewise.”

He said that if both the written and e-petition could be handed over with 100,000 signatures each it would show a ‘huge weight of opinion’.

He said: “It would be a tremendous achievement.”

Mr Drax is due to give evidence to the Transport Select Committee on Monday, November 5, about what it would mean if the helicopter was cut.

The committee invited written evidence into how the changes to the coastguard service were being implemented, they also wanted to hear about the possible impact on the service’s delivery.

A 12-page article was submitted outlining why the helicopter should be saved.

Mr Drax said he had been asked to give evidence because of the document submitted by his team.

He said he would be highlighting key points including helicopter response times if the service was moved away.

He said: “Portland helicopter is vital to retaining the integrity of the cover across the South West coastline.”

To sign up to the epetition visit http://epetitions. direct.gov.uk/petitions/36619

Vital Service

JEFF Peaple, 68, describes himself as a ‘very firm supporter’ of the Portland Coastguard helicopter.

He experienced first-hand just how vital the service is to the community when his stepson Liam Hughes, 15, was thrown against a cliff by a large wave on Portland last year and rendered unconscious by the blow.

Mr Peaple said he had signed the petition and urged others to do the same.

Praising the coastguards’ quick response, Mr Peaple said: “They wouldn’t have got there in time had they come from Southampton.

“They took four or five minutes and I reckon from Southampton they would have taken over 20 minutes.

“Things could have been much worse.

“I used to be a diver and some of my diver friends got saved by the coastguards too.

“It happens all the time.”

He added: “It’s not only for seafaring people though – I mean, bad things could happen to anyone. You could get stuck down a hole and break your leg. You’d really need them then.

“We want them to stay – very much so.”

Comments (17)

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2:02pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Hateignorance says...

Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax!
Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax! Hateignorance
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Hateignorance says...

Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax!
Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax! Hateignorance
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Hateignorance says...

Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax!
Please can I repectfully ask that Richard Drax writes a letter to his government and asks them to change the rules on the numbers of signatories for petitions where the issue is regional. It is madness to have one set of rules for national and regional campaigns. Once he has achieved this then we will have a better chance of saving this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax! Hateignorance
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Hateignorance says...

Can I respectfully ask that Richard Drax lobbies his government to change the rules on the number of signatories required for regional petitions. It is madness to have uniformity in the rules for national AND regional issues. Once achieved we can hopefully save this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax!
Can I respectfully ask that Richard Drax lobbies his government to change the rules on the number of signatories required for regional petitions. It is madness to have uniformity in the rules for national AND regional issues. Once achieved we can hopefully save this vital service. Over to you Mr Drax! Hateignorance
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Houdini says...

Not only is Portland Coastguard being withdrawn, but also Brixham, in Devon, leaving the entire South Coast with two SAR bases, Lee On Solent and Falmouth in Cornwall.
At the last Select Committee meeting, the MCA Chief, Sir Alan Massey stated that response times would not be affected by the closures. I think he has been watching too many science fiction films recently. Time travel is not a reality!
Not only is Portland Coastguard being withdrawn, but also Brixham, in Devon, leaving the entire South Coast with two SAR bases, Lee On Solent and Falmouth in Cornwall. At the last Select Committee meeting, the MCA Chief, Sir Alan Massey stated that response times would not be affected by the closures. I think he has been watching too many science fiction films recently. Time travel is not a reality! Houdini
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Bob Goulding says...

It's good to see that the profile of this issue has been raised a little but I am still concerned that the message is not reaching a large number of people who have previously registered support and who probably don’t know about the new e-petition.

It is all too easy to believe that, as withdrawal of the Coastguard Helicopter is not scheduled until 2017, there is plenty of time to register our objections: the reality is there isn’t. The original decision came ‘out of the blue’ and we have no guarantee that the withdrawal date will not be brought forward. The fact that the current withdrawal date is in the next Parliament is, I suspect, a political expedient but budget pressures may force this to be reviewed.

We really have only one last chance to reverse the decision through public opinion and the deadline for this is 30/07/2013. We can’t expect Richard Drax to ‘go in to bat’ on our behalf, and achieve the desired result, without him having our overwhelming support ‘IN WRITING’.

We need to keep this issue ‘top of mind’ until we reach the 100,000 minimum number of e-signatories to force a debate in Parliament.
It's good to see that the profile of this issue has been raised a little but I am still concerned that the message is not reaching a large number of people who have previously registered support and who probably don’t know about the new e-petition. It is all too easy to believe that, as withdrawal of the Coastguard Helicopter is not scheduled until 2017, there is plenty of time to register our objections: the reality is there isn’t. The original decision came ‘out of the blue’ and we have no guarantee that the withdrawal date will not be brought forward. The fact that the current withdrawal date is in the next Parliament is, I suspect, a political expedient but budget pressures may force this to be reviewed. We really have only one last chance to reverse the decision through public opinion and the deadline for this is 30/07/2013. We can’t expect Richard Drax to ‘go in to bat’ on our behalf, and achieve the desired result, without him having our overwhelming support ‘IN WRITING’. We need to keep this issue ‘top of mind’ until we reach the 100,000 minimum number of e-signatories to force a debate in Parliament. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Bob Goulding says...

It's good to see that the profile of this issue has been raised a little but I am still concerned that the message is not reaching a large number of people who have previously registered support and who probably don’t know about the new e-petition.

It is all too easy to believe that, as withdrawal of the Coastguard Helicopter is not scheduled until 2017, there is plenty of time to register our objections: the reality is there isn’t. The original decision came ‘out of the blue’ and we have no guarantee that the withdrawal date will not be brought forward. The fact that the current withdrawal date is in the next Parliament is, I suspect, a political expedient but budget pressures may force this to be reviewed.

We really have only one last chance to reverse the decision through public opinion and the deadline for this is 30/07/2013. We can’t expect Richard Drax to ‘go in to bat’ on our behalf, and achieve the desired result, without him having our overwhelming support ‘IN WRITING’.

We need to keep this issue ‘top of mind’ until we reach the 100,000 minimum number of e-signatories to force a debate in Parliament.
It's good to see that the profile of this issue has been raised a little but I am still concerned that the message is not reaching a large number of people who have previously registered support and who probably don’t know about the new e-petition. It is all too easy to believe that, as withdrawal of the Coastguard Helicopter is not scheduled until 2017, there is plenty of time to register our objections: the reality is there isn’t. The original decision came ‘out of the blue’ and we have no guarantee that the withdrawal date will not be brought forward. The fact that the current withdrawal date is in the next Parliament is, I suspect, a political expedient but budget pressures may force this to be reviewed. We really have only one last chance to reverse the decision through public opinion and the deadline for this is 30/07/2013. We can’t expect Richard Drax to ‘go in to bat’ on our behalf, and achieve the desired result, without him having our overwhelming support ‘IN WRITING’. We need to keep this issue ‘top of mind’ until we reach the 100,000 minimum number of e-signatories to force a debate in Parliament. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Thu 1 Nov 12

stench says...

Come on people, sign!
Come on people, sign! stench
  • Score: 0

4:24pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Spud Basher says...

Houdini raises a good point as the helicopter also covers Torbay. Perhaps the Herald & Express paper could also be involved in raising awareness to the people of that area as well.
Houdini raises a good point as the helicopter also covers Torbay. Perhaps the Herald & Express paper could also be involved in raising awareness to the people of that area as well. Spud Basher
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Bob Goulding says...

Good thinking Spud Basher! Perhaps we could even get the national media involved.

Anyone have any contacts at 'The One Show'? This is just the sort of thing that they report on.
Good thinking Spud Basher! Perhaps we could even get the national media involved. Anyone have any contacts at 'The One Show'? This is just the sort of thing that they report on. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Thu 1 Nov 12

markfishing5465 says...

I did help with the Petition to save Portland Coastguard station on weymouth harbour,we all should try and get a overturn on that from closing also !
I did help with the Petition to save Portland Coastguard station on weymouth harbour,we all should try and get a overturn on that from closing also ! markfishing5465
  • Score: 0

12:01am Fri 2 Nov 12

Houdini says...

Very good points Bob G. The petition only runs for 12 months and is due to run out early next year. We must get enough people to sign both the e petition and the traditional paper one before then. And 'Spud Basher', the Save Our Helicopter group is now linked nationally and will involve national as well as local media. It's so good to see these helpful comments. Thanks Dorset Echo for your platform. (Suggest the QR Bar Code top corner of front page)
Very good points Bob G. The petition only runs for 12 months and is due to run out early next year. We must get enough people to sign both the e petition and the traditional paper one before then. And 'Spud Basher', the Save Our Helicopter group is now linked nationally and will involve national as well as local media. It's so good to see these helpful comments. Thanks Dorset Echo for your platform. (Suggest the QR Bar Code top corner of front page) Houdini
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Fri 2 Nov 12

Laadeeda says...

The problem with the on line petitions is that there are several and the overall effect gets watered down.

You would think even Mr Drax would have the clout to get the various petitions merged to boost the numbers.

I just don't believe the apathy over what is an important local issue. The Police helicopter is moving to Hurn, further away. The CG helicopter is the only asset available in a busy area for both nautical and land searches.
The problem with the on line petitions is that there are several and the overall effect gets watered down. You would think even Mr Drax would have the clout to get the various petitions merged to boost the numbers. I just don't believe the apathy over what is an important local issue. The Police helicopter is moving to Hurn, further away. The CG helicopter is the only asset available in a busy area for both nautical and land searches. Laadeeda
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Fri 2 Nov 12

Houdini says...

There is only one official e petition for the Portland Coastguard Helicopter, which is the one outlined in the article.
Here is the link again:
http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/36619
There is only one official e petition for the Portland Coastguard Helicopter, which is the one outlined in the article. Here is the link again: http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/36619 Houdini
  • Score: 0

10:51am Sat 3 Nov 12

ChrisBC says...

Quote from Wessex FM:
"A campaign to save Portland's Coastguard Helicopter has taken a step forward.
South Dorset MP Richard Drax has been called-on to give evidence into the inquiry over its closure.
The Commons Transport Select Committee is interested in how changes to the coastguard will impact search and rescue operations up and down the coast.
Drax will try and persuade Politicians to save the chopper on November 5th".
Suggest The Dorset Echo reports on this story.
Quote from Wessex FM: "A campaign to save Portland's Coastguard Helicopter has taken a step forward. South Dorset MP Richard Drax has been called-on to give evidence into the inquiry over its closure. The Commons Transport Select Committee is interested in how changes to the coastguard will impact search and rescue operations up and down the coast. Drax will try and persuade Politicians to save the chopper on November 5th". Suggest The Dorset Echo reports on this story. ChrisBC
  • Score: 0

11:41am Sat 3 Nov 12

markfishing5465 says...

Don't think Drax is any good !!
Don't think Drax is any good !! markfishing5465
  • Score: 0

8:33pm Sat 3 Nov 12

Is it me or is everything rubbish? says...

The problem with this type of campaign is that the average person does not care enough to do anything to help save the service.

It is only when you have first hand experience of the importance of the rescue service that you realise how important it is.

Before my son was born, I had no real opinion on the Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital. Had they wanted to close it, I would not have been too concerned. However, as their staff helped to keep my son alive, I would literally chain myself to the doors to stop them closing the unit.

It is the same principle with the helicopter (and to a lesser extent, the new WDDC offices). People will say "ooh, yes it is terrible- someone should do something (so long as it is not me)".
The problem with this type of campaign is that the average person does not care enough to do anything to help save the service. It is only when you have first hand experience of the importance of the rescue service that you realise how important it is. Before my son was born, I had no real opinion on the Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital. Had they wanted to close it, I would not have been too concerned. However, as their staff helped to keep my son alive, I would literally chain myself to the doors to stop them closing the unit. It is the same principle with the helicopter (and to a lesser extent, the new WDDC offices). People will say "ooh, yes it is terrible- someone should do something (so long as it is not me)". Is it me or is everything rubbish?
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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