Southport lifeboat crew were called out to an unusual task last weekend as they ‘rescued’ a special package from the sea near Blackpool.
The team from the Southport Offshore Rescue had been asked to help kickstart the Merseyside leg of a special national baton relay promoting mental health in the British Emergency Services – bringing the baton ashore at Southport Promenade before taking part in a special procession along Lord Street.
The baton was then passed to the team from Merseyside Fire and Rescue to be held overnight at the Manchester Road Fire station before resort paramedics gave the baton a guard of honour through Ainsdale and Formby before it was passed on to emergency services in Bootle.
Taking place until September 22 this year, the relay will see staff from emergency services across the UK, including fire and rescue, police, ambulance, prison services and the NHS, carry a baton across England.
The baton will travel to different cities throughout its journey and each weekend local emergency services will hand it to another emergency service team for it to be taken to its next location.
On Saturday April 29, the Merseyside leg of the relay launched from Blackpool Promenade when the baton was taken to Southport Community Fire Station on Manchester Road by crew from Southport Lifeboat.
The next day the baton was placed in a vintage ambulance and traveled in convoy with three fire engines and vehicles from HM Coastguard Southport along Lord Street in Southport through Ainsdale, Formby, Ince Blundell, Thornton and Netherton before arriving at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service headquarters on Bridle Road in Bootle.
Entitled ‘Our Blue Light’ the campaign is designed to raise awareness of mental health and the stigma around it.
Southport Merseyside Fire and Rescue Watch Manager Steve Bousfield was in charge of coordinating the resort leg of the relay.
He said: “Our Blue Light aims to bring our services together, as an emergency and essential family, to improve mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
“At the same time we are also raising awareness of general health and wellbeing and how we can improve this?.
“The relay will be stopping off at different cities and location throughout its journey.
“Every weekend there will be an event, with the local emergency and essential services and community groups getting the torch and taking it to the next location, via any means, whether that be run, cycle or even kayaking!”