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Stormy Stan welcomes Storm Force Gang to Portishead

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteers gathered at Portishead to give their Storm Force Members a day to remember whilst learning valuable sea safety skills.

The children aged 4 – 14years old, and their parents and carers were thrilled to have had so much to see and do.

With over 200 visitors the day was packed full with the chance for the children to meet lifeboat crew, beach lifeguards and Portishead coastguards.  There were talks, videos, quizzes, a dry suit challenge, a puppet show and the chance to learn about the history of the RNLI. As well as a chance to meet Storm Stan the RNLI’s very own mascot.

The children were put in to small groups and moved around the 10 different stands giving them time to ask questions and be hands on with their learning. With a chance to chat with the lifeboat crew they were shown all the different equipment on the boat which had been laid out for them to see and touch.  They had a go at tying ropes and see how to carry a stretcher.  As they moved around the displays the Coastguards were able talk to the children about how to throw a line to a target, which proved to be quite a challenge, a skill worth having and everyone was keen to have a go.  Giving the children hands on experience in a rescue scenario was a valuable skill.  The RNLI beach lifeguards were able to show them what to do in a rip current and show them how to wave their arm to attract attention if they found themselves in trouble.  It was then on to meet the Beach Buddies, a puppet show with many safety messages coming across to the children on what to do if they get lost on the beach and not to go near the mud.

My Lady Anne, the Atlantic 85 lifeboat based at Portishead, launched just after lunchtime to give a demonstration to the children and with the help of Compass Sea School, so that they could see how the crew volunteers would tow a vessel in trouble.  Soon after that one of the beach lifeguards took a plunge in the chilly sea and helped to demonstrate how they would help a person who was in difficulty whilst swimming. As the lifeguard was pulled in to the boat the crowd gave a big cheer.

To end the display My Lady Anne was joined by 4 classic lifeboats, now retired from the RNLI and privately owned, for a show across the ages of how the lifeboats have changed throughout the years.  Having travelled some distance to be with the children for the Storm Force Day it was another treat for them and their families to see Pentland, The Cheiftain, Always Ready and Richard Vernon on the water.  An amazing sight to be seen. 

The day ended with Stormy Stan handing out goodie bags for the children with a few mementoes from the day.

Derek Weatherburn, organiser of the day and one of the Portishead Education volunteers, said ‘It was wonderful to see so many children here today for what has been the biggest ever RNLI Storm Force Day. If just one child goes home having learnt something about keeping safe near the water then our job has been worth while’.  Derek has been volunteering with the RNLI for 16 years, and has already hosted along with his wife Pauline, over 3000 visitors to the Station so far this year. 

If you would like a visit to the Station or an education volunteers to visit your school or club just contact RNLI Portishead on or pop in to our shop and ask for details.

Help little ones discover the exciting world of lifeboats and lifeguards with Storm Force – the RNLI’s very own club for young people. Membership makes a fun and educational gift that lasts for a whole year; all for only £10 -

RNLI notes to editors

Photographs are all ©RNLI Portishead
• Stormy hands out goodie bags
• Hands on with the volunteer crew
• Biggest ever Storm Force Day
• Portishead Coastguards
• Beach Lifeguards
• Classic Lifeboats with My Lady Anne

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For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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