Our first Christmas on call
Antony and his son Hayden, who both volunteer at Withernsea RNLI, are getting ready to face their first Christmas on call together.
Antony, otherwise known as ‘Binhead’ to his fellow volunteers at Withernsea Lifeboat Station, joined the crew when he was 17 years old. And now, more than two decades later, his son Hayden has signed up too. Antony says: ‘Hayden signed up as soon as he turned 17 – just like I did all those years ago. He’s worked so hard and taken on all his training with real determination. I’m proud to have him on the boat with me.’
Hayden is one of hundreds of new volunteers around the UK and Ireland beginning their RNLI journey. For some, the pandemic provided an opportunity to volunteer. Others, like Hayden, were motivated by a calling to help people. He says: ‘I’ve lived in Withernsea all my life and have grown up surfing and fishing off the coast here. I’ve watched my dad go out on the lifeboat since I can remember. As soon as I was old enough to volunteer, I said to myself: “I’d like to do that too”. Covid meant it took a while to get going, but the last few months have been brilliant. Everyone’s been so supportive – even Dad!’
I’ve watched my dad go out on the lifeboat since I can remember. As soon as I was old enough to volunteer, I said to myself: “I’d like to do that too”.
This Christmas many will leave loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble at sea safely returned. Over the past decade, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 1,200 times during the festive period. These rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.
Hayden explains: ‘This will be my first Christmas since completing my training. The best thing about being on the crew is knowing that the pager can go off any time and you’ll be there to help someone who needs it. I’ll be at home with my family this Christmas, but if the pager goes I’ll be ready, just like dad. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the generosity of people donating to the RNLI.
‘At this time of year, the weather is at its worst and lives can be on the line. We’re grateful to everyone who supports this year’s Christmas appeal, for helping fund the training and kit we need to answer the call when the pager goes.’
If you’d like to leave a gift to crew members like Antony and Hayden this Christmas, please make a donation today.