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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Spirit of Lelaina nears service
Lelaina Hall
A rescue hovercraft was launched in Lelaina's memory
Final preparations are under way for the launch of a new rescue hovercraft built in memory of a Worcester schoolgirl.

Named the Spirit of Lelaina, the vessel will operate off Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, where five-year-old Lelaina Hall died last year after becoming stranded on a mud flat.

Final pilot training and engineering works is underway and is hoped the hovercraft will go into service by the end of September.

Glen Cutter, from the Burnham Area Rescue Boat service, says the hovercraft will complement existing safety arrangements on a stretch of coastline that has the second highest rise and fall of tide in the world.

Lelaina died last June after getting trapped on the mudflats while on a family holiday.

She was plucked from the sea by a rescue helicopter but died later in hospital.

The campaign to fund a 35,000 hovercraft that can rescue people from the mudflats was launched just days after the tragedy.

Within three weeks, the total had been met and continued fundraising took the money raised to more than 100,000.

This paid for a boathouse and will fund the running of the hovercraft for up to 10 years.




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