A swap at the top at Bembridge RNLI lifeboat station
It’s all change at the top at Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat Station this week as two committed volunteers step down from their roles.
Mike Samuelson, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), and John Keyworth, the station’s long-serving volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (LPO) and Deputy Launching Authority, have both vacated their roles after years of dedication and service.
But, in a happy twist of fate, neither will be saying farewell to the lifeboat charity, for they are both simply swapping roles with each other, meaning they will continue to help save lives at sea for years to come.
Mike Samuelson, who has been the LOM since 2011, celebrated his 70th birthday over the weekend, at which point he is required to step down from the role. With John, who has been the LPO and has been involved at Bembridge RNLI since 1979, lined up as his successor the ideal opportunity presented itself for them to switch roles.
John therefore has taken on the managerial role of LOM, who is responsible for the running of the station and overall decisions on when to launch the lifeboat. Meanwhile Mike will turn his hand to writing news releases, supplying local and media with videos and photos, and managing the station’s social media channels.
John Keyworth, who has been the press officer for 10 years, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I know the crew really well after all these years and having done the press role for some time the when the LOM role became available it seemed like a natural fit and a new challenge. Mike has done a fantastic job and, to use a marine metaphor, I’m pleased to be taking control of a ship he has steered so steadily for the last few years.’
Mike Samuelson added: ‘It’s been a great experience looking after the station, but turning 70 sadly means I can no longer continue. But I am delighted to be able to remain involved and manage the station’s reputation publicly, as raising awareness of our rescues is so crucial in getting people to support us financially. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the crew in my new role. I also plan to continue as a volunteer visits guide, as well as a member of the our Education team and Coastal Safety team.’
Bembridge has had an RNLI lifeboat station since 1867, and it remains a popular visitor attraction for islanders and holidaymakers. In 2016 the stations two lifeboats launched a combined total of 45 services, rescuing 83 people in total. So far in 2017 they have launched on service 3 times and rescued 4 people.
RNLI media contacts
- Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email@example.com
- For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
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.