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Spurn lighthouse rides the ‘air’ waves

Thursday 10th August 2017

The entrance to Spurn Lighthouse following its restoration

Spurn Lighthouse will be riding the waves of the radio kind on the 19th and 20th of August as it welcomes a group of radio operators to kick start this year’s International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

Credit: Maria TamaritThe lighthouse, now owned and recently restored by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, will join more than 500 lighthouses and lightships worldwide celebrating ‘Lighthouses on the Air’ as part of ILLW – an event centred on the world of amateur radio, lighthouses and lightships.

Beginning at a minute past midnight on Saturday 19th August and running continuously for 48 hours, members of the Humber Fortress DX Amateur Radio Club (DXARC) will set up a radio station within Spurn Lighthouse in a bid to contact as many of their counterparts participating across the globe as possible.

Members of the public visiting Spurn Lighthouse are invited to watch the team in action and, under guidance, are offered the chance of having a go themselves. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s popular Spurn Safaris will run over both days setting off at noon to help transport those wishing to witness and take part in the event.

ILLW is held annually on the third full weekend of August and coincides with International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend, organised by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers, during which many world lighthouses hold tours, entertainment and functions.

Yorkshire’s coastline boast a trio of lighthouses open to the public; based at Flamborough, Withernsea and Spurn.

Spurn Lighthouse itself has welcomed around 5000 visitors since April last year following an extensive renovation by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust thanks to National Lottery players, with £470,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and additional support from the Coastal Communities Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.

Spurn Lighthouse in its heydayThe listed building scooped two prestigious awards for the restoration work: The Humber Nature Partnership award in 2015 for the most exciting local project across the Humber and Best Change of Use of an existing Building or Conversion in the North East at the Local Authority Buildings Control (LABC) Awards.

Measuring some 128ft to the very top, Spurn Lighthouse is one of the highest publically accessible lighthouses in Northern England. Its lifesaving light was last operational over three decades ago.

Overseeing Spurn’s involvement in ILLW is Adam Stoyle from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. He said: “We were really pleased to be approached by Humber Fortress Radio Club and for the lighthouse to play a part in this international event. It will be great to see the number of people and just how far afield the team can reach.”

Sean Lyon who has organised Humber Fortress DXARC’s participation in the weekend said: “This is the first chance we’ve been able to operate out of Spurn Lighthouse and it’s a real privilege to do so. Alongside promoting amateur radio the main aim of ILLW is to raise awareness of the need to preserve and restore lighthouse and lightships wherever possible. It’s so important to conserve these historic aids to navigation before their existence is lost. This is exactly what Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has achieved with Spurn Lighthouse.

“Major amateur radio organizations across the world, as far afield as Australia, support and promote the weekend so we’ll be making lots of international contacts and answering any questions from the public who want to watch and try their hand at operating the radios.”

For more information on ILLW visit the Facebook page @ILLWeekend

See our Events pages to take part in a Spurn Safari, to include entrance to the lighthouse.