Port William’s PIRSAC in line for national award

The PIRSAC III and some of the crew
The PIRSAC III and some of the crew

Port William Inshore Rescue Service (PIRSAC) are excited to announce they are National Finalists in the FSB & Worldpay UK Business Awards 2017 – Community Business of the year.

PIRSAC were proud winners of the ‘Scottish Finalist’ title. The next process involved sending a biography and interesting facts to the judges to consider for the short list.

An email shortly after informed them – ‘You have been selected as one of four finalists in your entered category – Community Business of the year 2017’.

They had made it not only as Scottish finalists but managed to compete with the 11 other areas to be one of four national finalists.

Helen Oxley, Secretary (who completed the application) said: “We are highly delighted to have got so far – next step is the awards ceremony in London at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre on Wednesday 10th May. With a 25% chance of winning, we are keeping everything crossed!”

The PIRSAC biography sent reads: “In 1978 following distress calls and boating incidents, the community decided to discuss having a rescue vessel based at Port William. They contacted the RNLI who declined as they felt the area had little demand for one – the community believed it did. A committee was formed called Port William Inshore Rescue Service Action Committee - the birth of PIRSAC.

Serious fundraising produced enough to buy an Avon5 Searider. The boat and a borrowed trailer were launched on Mayday 1979 by Nicolette Milnes Walker MBE (first lady to cross the Atlantic single handed). After the crew were trained, PIRSAC became fully operational on June 20th 1979.

19 years later PIRSAC I was upgraded with a 5.5Tornado.

Following new health and safety regulations and MCA new code of practice, a new boat, which in turn needed new housing was priority. To this, secure funding from Dumfries and Galloway European Fisheries fund was sought to which we now have our new Ribcraft6.5 and fabulous building with café and viewing gallery above.”

The interesting facts reads: “From starting with nothing : no money, no heating, no hot water, no toilet!!! – To building almost half a million registered charity within our small rural community is a phenomenal achievement.

This enormous achievement would not have happened if it were not, firstly for its directors – our chairperson, George, who in his late 70’s drove this project from initial idea to finish including doing many ‘physical building’ jobs along the way himself. To Helen, our secretary – manager of the café level, paperwork queen, as well as chairperson of local pantomime company and a farmer!!! Both of whom put in many hundreds of hours to make it all succeed…..and not forgetting the crew and members of course!”