UPTON-upon-Severn's new water rescue unit has been awarded nearly £5,000 in a fast-track Lottery grant to buy protective clothing.

The grant came as a welcome bonus, possibly just in time to kit out eight crew members before the first floods of the winter, said Dave Walker, leader of the Severn Area Rescue Association unit.

"We already have four complete sets of personal protective equipment and the Lottery grant of £4,976 will pay for eight more," he said.

"This will include helmets, dry suits, buoyancy jackets, gloves, under-suits and safety lines. Together with our back-up equipment, this will bring us up to a good standard."

Mr Walker said he hoped to have the new suits by the second week in December and had been watching the weather forecasts anxiously while waiting to hear whether the bid for Lottery money had been successful.

"We were getting a trifle worried, because the water table is still high and heavy rain is forecast," he said.

"It's a bit of a race against time to see which will come first, the floods or the wet suits," he said.

The unit was busy during last winter's heavy floods, responding to the local need for flood relief work, but the trained volunteers can be mobilised to help any of the emergency services in water-based rescue operations.