High Seas, shantymen and lifeboats at Cromer Pier charity concert
“On a cold winters night with the storm at its height the lifeboat answered the call”, go the lyrics of the well-known lifeboat themed song, Home from the Sea” written by Phil Coulter
And so it was on Cromer Pier
on Sunday 6 November, when 400 or so brave souls battled their way
along Cromer Pier into a bitterly cold northerly gale. Amid rising seas the people were determined to reach the Pavilion Theatre to listen to Sheringham Shantymen, one of their favourite
groups, perform in what is becoming an annual event, their end of season concert,
more than ably assisted by the redoubtable Norfolk raconteur Keith Skipper.
The whole concert was a cracking affair, kicking off with an upbeat version of New York Girls and culminating with that most ebullient of sailor’s friends, Maggie May.
The concert was interestingly and most expertly interspersed with wit and humour from Keith who is renowned for his love of all things Norfolk, particularly its dialect. he also kept the crowd entertained with his Norfolk explanations of common English words and stories of pigs in wheelbarrows.
Of course the main purpose on the evening was to provide financial assistance for the two RNLI lifeboat stations at Sheringham and Cromer. Volunteers from both stations' crews were invited to attend the concert and sat very patiently throughout the evening waiting for their turn to shine.
Eventually, Coxswain John Davies, from Cromer RNLI, and Senior Helmsman David Hagan, from Sheringham RNLI, were invited on stage with the other crew members, female) lining the front of the stage to join in the singing of Home from the Sea.
John and David were then presented with cheques by Sheringham Shantymen Chairman, Bob Hawkins, for £1,424 each - the total raised through the sale of tickets.
Bob said: 'We would like to thank Cromer Pier for allowing the use of their premises at a greatly reduced cost to enable the Sheringham Shantymen to further benefit the lifeboat crews, in particular Debs and the box office crew and Phil and his backstage crew.
'And of course we thank Keith Skipper. Not only for his Norfolk Squit during the concert but also his expertise and enthusiasm during the preparation and build up to the performance. It’s a little known fact that Keith is a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk and was awarded the MBE in 2007. He assures me that it doesn’t stand for Member of Beeston Eccentrics!!'
Bob also thanked the Sheringham Shantymen for their time and effort in putting on the show, especially the small band of dedicated guys who thoroughly enjoyed putting the thing together, and said it would not have been possible without the attendance on an awful night of the people from near and far who braved the elements to have a damn good night out.
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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 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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland