West Kirby RNLI lifeboat volunteers celebrate half a century of service
On Saturday afternoon volunteer RNLI crew members, past and present, gathered at the Marine Lake at West Kirby to celebrate the historic landmark.
The West Kirby volunteers, headed by Dave Henshaw Lifeboat Operations Manager, with the help from the committee and members of West Kirby Sailing Club, hosted the Deputy Mayor Ann McLachlan, and her consort Bill McLachlan, George Rawlinson, the Operations Director of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Poole, and countless other RNLI volunteers who have served on the West Kirby crew throughout the fifty years of service.
The RNLI visitors included volunteers and their families from the charity’s flank Lifeboat Stations of Hoylake, New Brighton and Flint both past and present, some particularly from Hoylake who also served on the West Kirby Lifeboat in the early days of the station’s service and one who currently serves on both the Flint and West Kirby Lifeboats.
Other visitors included personnel past and present from HM Coastguards, the Ambulance Service, Health, Police, Fire and Rescue and Bay Rescue from Morecambe Bay. The volunteers from Bay Rescue proved invaluable approximately four years ago in the efforts to secure our superb launching vehicle the Haglund BV206.
Following a ceremony on the Marine Lake West Kirby to celebrate the 800 launches and the 217 lives saved and the countless others assisted during the 50 years; that included speeches from Dave Henshaw, and George Rawlinson, followed by two displays on the lake by some the current Lifeboat volunteer crew who demonstrated the rescue of a canoeist and a capsize and recovery of a lifeboat, the afternoon proceedings by the lakeside were closed by the vicar of St Hilderberg’s Church, the Reverend Paul Rossiter, who gave a blessing following some traditional mariners' prayers.
Afterwards, the Deputy Mayor inspected the lifeboat equipment and met with the various volunteer crewmembers who were impressed in her interest in the boat and equipment, especially behind the history and procurement of the launching vehicle and the family connections at the station running through generations of the same families.
Finally, the deputy mayor was escorted to the Summer Pavilion at West Kirby Sailing Club where there were further speeches from the Commodore of West Kirby Sailing Club and the RNLI followed by a surprise presentation of a Gold Medallion, presented to Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Henshaw for his service to the institution for over 40 years. This proved to be a popular award that was met with rapturous applause from the audience.
Afterwards, guests were treated to a Hog Roast buffet and music from the Wirral Ukelele Fanatics followed by a raffle with generous prizes provided by businesses from West Kirby and afar. The cost of the event was supported by donations from Hickories Smokehouse, F C Hardware and National Marine.
Once again The West Kirby Sailing Club Committee and Members provided excellent assistance and facilities for the RNLI just as they did some fifty years ago, when the lifeboat was initially installed at West Kirby, when the sailing club provided a base for the new lifeboat until a station was secured on The South Parade.
For further information on the history of West Kirby RNLI Lifeboat Station please visit the station web site.
RNLI media enquiries
Ed Rowland, Deputy Launching Authority and Lifeboat Press Officer
Contact 07429 277 294
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.