Brownies Welcome Home after 3 Call Outs In 19hrs
After a busy training session on Tuesday evening (4th July) the volunteers were paged for the first time on the following evening (5th July).
The Coastguards requested them to help in a search for a missing vessel reported to be running low on fuel and all radio communications had been lost. Little did they know that this was soon to be the start of a very busy few hours for them.
The missing vessel was causing concern for the staff at Portishead Quays Marina, when they called the Coastguard to raise the alarm. It was then decided very quickly that the help of the RNLI crew was needed and My Lady Anne, the Atlantic 85 Lifeboat was launched at 11.10pm. As the last known intended destination of the missing boat was Bristol, both teams searched along the Avon River towards Clifton Suspension Bridge. With nothing found and an outgoing tide the RNLI volunteers took their search along the Severn Estuary towards Clevedon, again nothing was found. After a thorough search both teams were stood down and returned to the Station at 12.13am.
The second call came just a few hours later when the Crew launched again, this time at 4.35am (6th July). The Police had become increasingly concerned for the safety of an 80yr old man with Alzheimer’s who had been reported missing at 7pm the previous evening. A massive search was carried out by the Police both on the ground and in the air with their helicopter Crew. Both Clevedon and Portishead Coastguard teams were joined by the RNLI volunteers who helped by carrying out a detailed search along the coast.
After 2hrs the Lifeboat volunteers returned to the Station to swop to a new Crew. As they were about to re-launch they were stood down at 6.35am as nothing was found. The volunteers were delighted to find out a little later that day that the missing man had been found safe and well but had been taken to hospital as a precaution.
Later that day, after a full day at work for most of the Crew they were paged again at 6.18pm (6th July). A report had come through from a concerned member of the public who had seen an inflatable dingy floating up the River Avon towards Clifton Suspension Bridge. As the Crew arrived to the Station the building had been evacuated by a group of Brownies and their Leaders from 1st North Weston Brownies in Portishead. They were visiting the Station for an Educational presentation about safety near the water and on the beach.
The volunteers quickly launched and working once again with Portishead Coastguards, they started their search along the river. Shortly after arriving on scene just beyond the Suspension Bridge, the Crew were able to speak to the Deputy Harbour Master for Bristol. He was able to inform them that a small inflatable tender had just been recovered from the water with no signs of anyone on board. It was believed to have slipped its mooring.
On returning to the Station the volunteers were met with cheers, waving and big smiles as the Brownies welcomed the volunteers back.
Dave Slack, Lifeboat Operations Manager said, ‘With three service calls in one day, the Portishead volunteer crew demonstrated a significant commitment to saving lives at sea and they did it with a high level of professionalism’.
Kath Scott, Crew volunteer also said ‘Arriving back after our 3rd call out it was a fantastic sight to see the Brownies forming a welcome for us, there was a sea of excited smiling faces and lots of waving. A very welcome sight after a hot evening on the water. Having recovered the lifeboat safely to the top of the ramp they gave us a brilliant round of applause! So I, along with the other members of the crew went to meet them all. They were keen to find out where we had been and tell us all about what they had learned in their Education presentation from Derek who is the co-ordinator for all of our visits. They had been learning so that they could get their water safety badges. With such a fantastic welcome back we were made to feel like Hollywood Stars! Big thanks to the Brownies and their Leaders. As a Female Crew member it was great to hopefully inspire the female crew of the future, who knows, in 10yrs time hopefully we'll see some of these youngsters enrolling as volunteers.’
If you want to support your local RNLI Crew, come along to the Festival On the Quay on 15th July. There will be fun for all the family all around the Marina here in Portishead. Look forward to seeing you then!
RNLI notes to editors
All Images ©RNLI Portishead & 1st North Weston Brownies
- Derek Weatherburn during his safety talk at the Lifeboat Station© 1st North Weston Brownies
- Shorecrew wait for the return of the Lifeboat with the sunrise
- My Lady Anne launch
- Volunteers launch again
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 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