RNLI lockdown lifesavers come to the rescue
We’ve got people from all walks of life on the lifeboat crew, always willing to use their time and skills to help others. During the coronavirus crisis their selflessness and community spirit has come out in some creative and heart-warming ways.
Alice shares the healing power of art
The vibrant picture above was painted by Aberdovey Helm Alice Beetlestone. Alice was put on furlough and wanted to make the most of her time by creating a rainbow which included the RNLI and other emergency services.
When she shared her painting on social media to lift people’s spirits, she got an amazing response and is now selling the prints with all profits going to three charities: the RNLI, Mountain Rescue and Mind’s Blue Light Programme. Alice has raised more than £300.
Alice says: ‘The RNLI attracts such kind-hearted people who want to give what they can back to their communities. And we do get a lot back too! I feel very privileged and proud to be a part of the RNLI family.’
Paul shines a light in Scarborough
One RNLI lifeboat crew member offered his services for free to the elderly and vulnerable in Scarborough who had no-one else to help them during the lockdown.
Electrician Paul Huggins is asking for no call-out fee and working the first hour free of charge; he reckons most basic faults can be found and sorted in an hour. The only charge will be for materials used, at cost.
Paul says: 'I’m a big believer in community spirit and helping out when times are tough. I’m not medically trained so I can't help out with that, but I am a fully qualified and experienced electrician. I will do my best to get to them and sort them out. I have masks and sprays in my van to disinfect stuff.
Crew Member Paul reflects: 'This isn't a time to panic or get stressed out. It’s a time to stop, think and keep a level head. It’s a time to think of others and the most vulnerable in our world. Keep calm and carry on'.
Gareth keeps us fit and well in Porthcawl
Local gym owner and Porthcawl RNLI crew member Gareth Charnock has broadcast live online gym classes to the community.
Gareth has been a member of the RNLI volunteer crew at Porthcawl since 2006. He also owns local gym Porthcawl Health and Fitness Club. He says: 'When the news came that we had to close the gym I was devastated. I see my gym members as one big family. I really wanted to offer them a way to continue to train together from their own homes.
He decided to open up the classes for free to local people. 60+ people join regular gym members for the classes. Gareth says: ‘I hope in these difficult times our online classes will help prevent social isolation and help people's health, mental health and well-being.’
It seems to be working, if this candid feedback from a participant is anything to go by: ‘At the moment my husband is still alive, the children are still smiling and I haven’t turned to drink. That’s thanks to your classes.’
Gareth and the team at the gym have a proud history of supporting local charities, raising £10,000 in a typical year. Gareth reflects: ‘I’ve always been someone who likes to help others whenever I can - it’s part of the reason I joined the crew. The RNLI values of being trustworthy, courageous, selfless and dependable are inherent in RNLI volunteers and without a doubt why so many rise to the challenge and help others during a crisis.’
Liam launches to the help of teachers, parents and pupils
Liam Fayle-Parr, an ex-RNLI lifeguard and member of the Water Safety Team came to the rescue once again, hosting Water Safety Wednesdays on Facebook. With help from the RNLI's social media and education teams, Liam entertained the nations’ children with a live broadcast every Wednesday for 6 weeks. 5,000 households watched the series live, reaching almost 600,000 on Facebook.
As a lifeguard, Liam had previously delivered water safety assemblies at schools, but imagine a class of thousands of 3–11 year olds! And Liam also has two of his own kids to look after at home.
Liam was a lifesaver for parents and teachers looking for trustworthy, educational and fun ways to keep the kids busy during lockdown. One mum wrote in: ‘Thanks so much Liam! Edith watched this every Wednesday morning. She loved it!! But now is a bit sad. "Mum what are we gonna do Wednesday mornings now?" Bless her.’
Want to do your bit to help?
For ideas for how you can do some good for the community, look at all the ways you can help the RNLI family and fundraise from home.