View as PDF

RNLI Open Day starts with ‘Will You Marry Me?’

Lifeboats News Release

The sun was out and the RNLI volunteers started to get ready for their first Open Day of 2017 by hanging the bunting once again and polishing My Lady Anne ready for everyone to see.

Andy and Becky stood by RNLI Portishead's Lifeboat My Lady Anne

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

The Happy couple Andy and Becky now planning a wedding!

The set up was almost complete when everyone was bought to a sudden stop when Crew volunteer Andy Allen got down on one knee and popped the question!

With a delighted ‘Yes, I will marry you!’ from his partner Becky, the volunteers burst in to cheers and applause! Andy said ‘I have been a volunteer on the Lifeboat since 2000 so I thought, well, not many people would get a chance to propose actually on the lifeboat and I wanted to catch Becky completely off her guard, I think it worked! It was perfect, the weather was lovely and having our family and all the volunteers there made it very special for us.’

With everyone feeling upbeat and delighted for Andy and Becky the tone was set for the day and hundreds of visitors started to arrive. With the Beach Buddies puppet show in full swing the children were given a valuable lesson on how to stay safe by the water. RNLI Lifeguards joined the volunteers for the day and took to the water during the Lifeboat demonstration to show how the Crew would rescue somebody in trouble and in risk of drowning. Compass Sea School also helped by providing a boat to act as a casualty to show how My Lady Anne would tow a boat to safety. With the second highest tidal range in the world here in Portishead you don’t want to be left drifting to long on the Estuary, with the speed of water flow you could end up anywhere in just 15 minuets.

The Duke of Edinburgh students also showed off their baking skills and had over 400 cakes donated for their cake sale. The RNLI Shop was bustling all day with supporters buying the new range of yellow welly goodies.

The crowds were having fun and clearly pleased to have their very own lifeboat station so close to them. Big thanks go to them for supporting the day and helping to raise a fantastic £1,600.

If you would like to support the RNLI why not come along to the Somerset Hall in Portishead on 20th May, for an evening of musical merriment with INTERNATIONAL renowned tenor BEN MAKISI, local doo-wop group The Cat’s Pyjamas and local violinist Lu Jeffery (who is one of our very own trainee crew!) Pre booking is advisable and tickets are available at our RNLI Shop, in the Butchers Block (Portishead High Street) and on line here,

Thank you all for your support and for helping us to keep #SavingLivesAtSea

To help us with fundraising even just for a few hours here and there why not email or pop in to our shop and leave your contact details, we will get in touch!

RNLI notes to editors

Images are all ©RNLI Portishead

1 Andy with his new fiancé Becky

2 Children enjoying the Beach Buddies

3 Beach Buddies with creator Jon Yabsley, RNLI Education Volunteer

4 Child taking time out with RNLI Lifeguards

5 My Lady Anne off to rescue Lifeguard for demo

6 My Lady Anne towing during demo

RNLI media contacts

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

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 140,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland

Children & parents sat watching the Beach Buddies puppet show

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Children enjoying the Beach Buddies

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Jon, creator of the Beach Buddies giving a show

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

One of the children enjoying trying the Lifeguards mini kit on
RNLI Portishead Lifeboat spot the Lifeguard in the water during the demonstration

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Crew during the demo off to collect the RNLI Lifeguard

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

My Lady Anne towing a boat during the demonstration to the crowd

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.

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 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