IT’S a new era for the Bridport branch of the RNLI which has a new chairman.

Peter Jackson has resigned from the post after being at the helm for more than a decade.

New chairman Martin Newbury said he is looking forward to the challenges of his new role.

He paid tribute to his predecessor, who has been involved with the Bridport RNLI for more than 20 years and was chairman since 2002.

Mr Newbury said: “It will be a hard act to follow.”

He brings a wealth of fundraising experience and was chairman of the St Albans branch before moving to Beaminster in 2006.

He and wife Anne have jointly held the position of souvenir sectretary since 2007 at the Bridport RNLI.

Mr Newbury said: “We are a fundraising branch and the role of chairman is to be a facilitator and focus point in all that we do.

“There are a number of very popular events such as the raft race in July and the West Bay fun day in August.”

He added: “The RNLI is a very important charity and fundraising is crucial. We get no government funding so everything comes from public donations.

“The recent floods in Somerset show that you do not have to live by the coast to need the lifeboats – there are the flood rescue teams as well.”

The charity also trains and provides lifeguards at West Bay and Lyme Regis, he added.

Outgoing chairman Peter Jackson was presented with a book called ‘The Lifeboat – Courage on our Coast’ by branch president Captain Fido Vivina-May to thank him for his work over the years.

Bridport and District branch press officer Jim Slade said: “As chairman, Peter worked tirelessly for the branch and would readily offer to take on a task if there was no one else available.”

Mr Jackson was awarded the RNLI Silver Badge for his work in 2009.

Mr Slade added: “Peter will be a hard act to follow but the members of the RNLI committee in Bridport feel that Martin Newberry is more than capable of fulfilling the role.”

Mr Newbury said he is happy to speak to anyone on matters concerning the RNLI.

He can be contacted on 01308 862347.