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West Kirby RNLI lifeboat volunteers celebrate half a century of service

Lifeboats News Release

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 Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland