The St Albans Head station of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) today paid the annual rent for its base in a former coastguard lookout that is now owned by the Encombe Estate. When Mr James Gaggero, who bought the estate for £20m five years ago, renewed the lease in 2012, he said that he would be content with rent of one crab a year.
Dirk Aldous, the Station Manager, made the presentation and said that the weather had been so bad lately that crabs had been hard to come by, so he first presented Mr Gaggero with a soft toy in the form of a crab. However, he went on, the Salt Pig in Wareham, which specialises in local produce, had come to the rescue at the last moment and had acquired two crabs, which he handed over to Mr Gaggero. There was another surprise for Mr Gaggero when Mr Aldous then gave him a framed photograph of the Crab nebula, taken from the Hubble telescope. It was, he said, a token of gratitude for Mr Gaggero’s interest in the station as its patron and for his generosity towards it as landlord.
In accepting the rent and gifts, Mr Gaggero praised the work of the station in helping to protect local fishermen and recreational users of the inshore waters around St Albans Head. He emphasised that it depends on members of the public both for contributions and for volunteers to man the station.