POOLE’S RNLI crew were called to help a kayaker in trouble during their annual open day.

After enjoying a demonstration by the crew, the crowd was able to watch a real launch as reports of an overturned kayak at the harbour entrance were made by Sandbanks Ferry.

The kayaker was found near the rocky shore by the chain ferry and was pulled on-board, uninjured, before the crew took him to Shell Bay.

The lifeboat then returned to the open day celebrations where members of the public experienced first-hand the work of the busy station and its crew.

Volunteer helm Dave Riley said: “It’s not usual for us to have a call on our annual open day for real, and it gives the crowds an opportunity to see a launch in action. The harbour entrance was extremely busy, with passing vessels funnelling in and out creating a lot of wash - not an ideal place to be capsized.”

While the lifeboat was occupied, people had the opportunity to tour the new floating lifeboat house and climb aboard relief lifeboats that were alongside.

Youngsters enjoyed a Punch and Judy-style puppet show, which featured key safety messages about the beach.

Poole lifeboat volunteer Anne Marie Clark said it was a successful event.

“A lot of hard work was put in behind the scenes by the open day planning team, and it was staggering the army of lifeboat friends, family and volunteers who turned up in force on the day to help us.

“It was also great to welcome our rescue partners from Poole Coastguard, the fire and rescue crew, marine police, and community RNLI sea safety team. Finally a massive thank you to all the businesses and people with huge hearts that supported by donating prizes. It really was heartening.”

Anne Marie gave a special mention to Elite Fabrication and Welding Ltd which designed and donated a bespoke mounting bracket for Poole lifeboat station’s gnome.

The gnome has been a “talisman”, watching over the Poole crews over the years, she said, and has even been rescued a couple of times after falling into the sea.

The money raised from the open day will go to the RNLI.