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Unsung hero Elsie Macrae

Elsie has been an education volunteer in the north east of Scotland for 2 years.

RNLI Education Volunteer Elsie Macrae

Photo: RNLI/Iain Bain

What's your day job?

I used to work offshore as an engineer on oil rigs, but I've been called to the ministry so am currently studying for that - a totally different thing!

How did you become an RNLI volunteer?

I was at an emergency services event to support my father-in-law, who volunteers for St John Ambulance and Mountain Rescue, when I stopped to find out more about the RNLI. Two years later, here I am!

What kind of skills do you need?

It's mainly about being flexible and able to think on your feet. Children always come up with strange questions and stories you're not prepared for.

Why is it important that we do education visits?

The teachers say: 'Elsie, if we tell them the dos and don'ts, they never listen. But if someone like you comes and tells them, they tend to listen because it's an external person.'

What piece of safety advice stands out to you?

Stop and think, and look out for dangers. I want kids to learn to take a second and stay alert when they're near water.

What's the funniest thing to happen on a visit?

One girl asked how old I was, then said she thought I looked 13! I said: 'Oh gosh, do I really look 13?' And she said: 'Yes, because that's very old!' She made my day, knocking 20 years off me!

What does being a part of the RNLI mean to you?

I just love it. The other volunteers I've met are so passionate about their work. If I lived at the coast, I would love to join a crew too.

And finally: what lifeboat would you be?

The Severn class - it's powerful, stable, dependable.

Tobermory RNLI's Severn class all-weather lifeboat Elizabeth Fairly Ramsey at sea

Photo: RNLI/Sam Jones

Tobermory RNLI's Severn class all-weather lifeboat Elizabeth Fairly Ramsey

Do you feel inspired by Elsie?

Find your place in our family

There are education volunteers in coastal and inland communities throughout the UK and Ireland.

Find out more about being a youth education volunteer and opportunities in your area.

Or discover other ways you can volunteer in our volunteering pages.