A reverend who helped turn a former MOD torpedo tracking station and potato store into a coastal watch station has been honoured with an award.

Andrew Williams, the High Sheriff of Cornwall recently visited Porthallow on the Lizard to present a High Sheriff's Award to National Coastwatch Watchkeeper Reverend Len Jepp.

Len is a watchkeeper at the local National Coastwatch Station at Nare Point. The award was made to recognise the contribution that Len has made to the station since he joined in 2007.

A founder member of the station he was involved in transforming the Ministry of Defence torpedo tracking station into a functioning watch station. Following closure in 1993 the building had been used by a local farmer as a potato store.

Owned by the National Trust there were no windows, just metal shutters. The original watch keeping team, of which Len was a key part cleaned, decorated and equipped the station and installed windows.

Len soon became deputy station manager and later station manager a post he held for ten years until 2019.

For a while he was also treasurer and ensured any technical problems with equipment were resolved. Len oversaw the increase in watchkeepers to almost 50 and opening hours extend from a few hours a week to seven days and 365 days a year.

Since retiring as station manager, Len has been very active in raising funds for the station by organising the successful NCI Nare Point 50:50 Club.

NCI Nare Point watchkeepers seek to ensure the safety of those on the water in Falmouth Bay from Black Rock south to the Manacles and in the Helford entrance.

The station recorded almost 20,000 vessel movements in 2022 and was involved in 16 incidents where watchkeepers either alerted the Coastguard or responded to their requests.


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Incidents ranged from drifting dinghies, to yachts caught up with pot lines to assisting with the search for a missing person. The team of 70 volunteer watchkeepers and trainees also keep an eye on walkers on the coastal path and record wildlife sightings which are submitted weekly to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The station provides weather data 24/7 and broadcasts weather and sea conditions and answers radio calls on the NCI dedicated radio Channel 65.

During 2023 NCI stations, in collaboration with the RNLI and Coastguard, will be promoting safety along the coast and on the water by providing advice and information. This is a new and additional role for NCI.