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Cowes Lifeboat Station Produces a Children’s Book

Lifeboats News Release

Concerned there was no official RNLI book for young children about the lifesaving activities of an inshore lifeboat persuaded the Visits Team at Cowes lifeboat station to become ‘do-it-yourselfers’.

Book presentation at the Cowes station.

RNLI/Nick Edwards.

The book presentation at the station. Left to right: Mark Southwell, Penny Maclean, Jennifer Hastings, Bertha Pollock, Lorna Cox, Rowena Wright, and Judy Ottaway.

The first three samples of the ground-breaking publication were hurriedly prepared in time for the station’s crowd-pulling SOS Day yesterday (Sunday).

One copy was given to Bertha Pollock, who had donated the cost of the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat in memory of her daughter, Sheena Louise; another was given to Sheena’s sister, Lorna Cox, who had officially named the lifeboat back in 2012 – while the third was received by the station’s Operations Manager, Mark Southwell.

Visits Officer, Penny Maclean, said: “We looked for a young children’s illustrated book about an inshore lifeboat, but only found books about the larger all-weather lifeboats. So we solved the problem by producing a book of our own, which we plan to read to children at the station and when we visit local schools.

“It not only describes a typical rescue, but also puts over the message about water and beach safety.”

Responsible for the text was visits member Judy Ottaway, with some help from other team members, and the eye-catching illustrations were done by crew-member and local artist, Rowena Wright.

The poor weather meant little use was made of The Parade for SOS activities, apart from East Cowes Branch members gamely running a ‘head-on-wellie’ competition and the presence of Isle of Wight Coastguards. However, the lifeboat station itself proved very popular with the public.

Children received plenty of water-safety messages, the voluntary Needles Coastwatch had a display, visits to the station were made by other lifeboat crews, the Cowes Guild helped with refreshments, and Eegons café provided much-appreciated sandwiches and cakes for the large army of volunteers.

Cover of the book.

RNLI/George Chastney

The cover of the lifeboat book.
Illustration of the inshore lifeboat.

RNLI/George Chastney

One of Rowena's many illustrations inside the cover.

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