RNLI lifeguards return for 10th anniversary patrolling Norfolk beaches

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards and North Norfolk District Council will celebrate 10 years of keeping beach-goers safe when lifeguards return for the start of the new season this weekend.< 7 & 8 May>

The RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea, first teamed up with North Norfolk District Council in 2007 to provide beach patrols at Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley and Sea Palling.

A decade later the service has expanded along the East Anglia coast to 16 beaches, including at West Runton (new for this year), East Runton and Wells in North Norfolk, as well as beaches in the Great Yarmouth area and Suffolk.

Four veteran RNLI lifeguards have been ever present since that first day 10 years ago - Vincent Pank, Sam Kendrick, Scott Davidson and Chris Wall.

Vincent, who has risen through the ranks to become Lifeguard Manager, said: ‘We were breaking new ground when we took on the lifeguard service for North Norfolk District Council in 2007, as it was the first time RNLI lifeguards had patrolled anywhere on the east coast of the UK.

‘It’s been an incredible 10 years since then, saving lives and keeping people safe. We’ve gone from having 15 lifeguards patrolling a handful of beaches to employing around 65 people at 16 locations along the length of the Norfolk coast and into Suffolk.

‘So much has happened throughout the past decade, but most rewarding for me is seeing how our presence and reputation has grown within the communities we work in. I think we were seen as a novelty at the start, but we’ve earned the trust and respect of people who now seek out our advice, whether that is the public, lifeboat crews, emergency services or landowners.’

Leader of North Norfolk District Council Cllr Tom FitzPatrick said: ‘We’re proud of what has been achieved in partnership with the RNLI over the past 10 years.

‘Ensuring the safety of our beaches is paramount and having lifeguards on duty when North Norfolk is at its busiest means visitors and residents can have peace of mind while enjoying our beautiful coastline.

‘The lifeguards are a skilled team and our admiration and thanks go to all of them for their dedication and bravery over the past decade.’
Cllr Becky Palmer Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture said: ‘Our beaches, four of which have Blue Flag status, are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each year. The hard work of the RNLI lifeguards has kept these people safe.’

Since 2010* RNLI lifeguards in East Anglia have saved 18 lives, rescued 177 people and given medical care 4,001 times.

RNLI lifeguards will resume patrols of five beaches in Norfolk on Saturday 7 May (Sheringham West, Cromer East, Mundesley, Sea Palling and Gorleston) and two in Suffolk on 21 May (Lowestoft South and Southwold North)

A further nine beaches will be patrolled from Saturday 2 July. These are Wells, Sheringham East, West Runton, East Runton, Cromer West, Hemsby, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft North and Southwold South.
Anyone interested in getting a job as an RNLI beach lifeguard can contact Vincent at Vincent_pank@rnli.org.uk or give him a call on 07917 581567.

RNLI lifeguard highlights from the past 10 years in East Anglia:

• In 2015, lifeguards rescued 10 people in three hours from Wells beach after bathers got caught out by strong currents. Read more here.

• In 2014, a lifeguard helped a father rescue his exhausted son and nephew off Cromer beach. Read more here.

• And in 2014, lifeguards rescued a drowning girl and two boys in a dramatic double rescue at Wells beach. Read more here.

• In 2013, the lifeguard service expanded into Suffolk at Lowestoft and Southwold.

• In 2013 RNLI lifeguards and lifeboats rescued 85 swimmers in one afternoon off Southwold beach.

• In 2012, off duty lifeguards saved a 12-year old girl from drowning off Gorleston. Read more here.

• In 2011, two RNLI lifeguard brothers on patrol at Cromer and Sea Palling rescued six people caught out by rip tides between them. Read more here.

• In 2010, the RNLI expanded its lifeguard service to East Runton

• In 2010, lifeguards rescued seven people from a strong rip current at Sea Palling. Read more here.

• In 2008, the RNLI expanded its lifeguard service to the Great Yarmouth area


Notes to editors

* The RNLI changed the way it recorded lifeguard statistics in 2010. Statistics are not available for previous years.

Lifeguard wages along the North Norfolk coast at Cromer, Sea Palling, Sheringham and Mundesley are funded by NNDC, with training, equipment, lifeguard stations, vehicles, support services and management provided by the RNLI.

Within the NNDC purvey there are three permanent lifeguard units at Wells, Sea Palling and Sheringham West. Temporary units have been installed at Sheringham East, West Runton, East Runton, Cromer West, Cromer East and Mundesley. They will be taken down in September.

RNLI media contacts

• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252  tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
• James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
  0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 james_oxley@rnli.org.uk
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

NNDC media contact

• For more information please contact Media Team on 01263 516202 or 01263 516059.

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.