Exmouth lifeboat family carols begin with a Mayday call for help

Lifeboats News Release

As guests were arriving for Exmouth lifeboat carols at station on 21 December, Exmouth's inshore lifeboat was tasked following the transmission of a weak Mayday call for help, somewhere in west Lyme Bay.

Around 100 people gathered to sing carols at Exmouth lifeboat station

RNLI/Emma Tarling

Crowds singing carols inside Exmouth's all-weather boat hall.

The D class lifeboat launched at 5.39pm and was tasked to search the river Exe for people or vessels in difficulty. Simultaneously, Teignmouth RNLI’s Atlantic class The Two Annes was tasked to search the river Teign and two fishing boats, on their way into the Exe estuary watched and listened for any signs of vessels in difficulty. The UK Coastguard was unable to pinpoint a precise location. Both RNLI Crews searched as far as their respective M5 motorway bridges, were stood down at 7pm and returned to their stations with nothing found.

Meanwhile, back at Exmouth boathouse, around 100 family members and friends of lifeboat volunteers filled the all-weather lifeboat hall to sing carols, drink mulled cider and eat mince pies. Father Christmas, dressed in yellow wellies arrived at the end of the carols and presented all good children with a gift.

The hall was decorated with lights, bunting and a huge Christmas tree donated by Kings Garden Centre. Deputy Launching Authority, Hedley Saunders was the Master of Ceremonies for the event and lyrics were displayed on a huge screen at the back. Honiton Band and the choir of Tipton St John gave their generous time and talents free for the charity’s special occasion and led the singing.

South West Volunteer Regional Family Support Coordinator, Shirley Halford explained:

‘The event was part of the RNLI Families programme, introduced in 2015 with the aim of improving the way the RNLI engages with and supports the families of its operational lifeboat station volunteers and staff. Volunteers at Exmouth lifeboat station felt it was most fitting to have a celebration at Christmas, as this is the most anti-social time Crew volunteers can be called away by their pagers. Thank you to the Crew volunteers and their wives for organising such an amazing event.’

Notes to Editors

Photos: (Credit: Exmouth RNLI)

PR221218 Inshore lifeboat George Bearman II launches to a search of the river Exe

PR221218 Crowd singing in all-weather boat hall

PR221218 MC Hedley Saunders with Honiton Band

PR221218 Father Christmas with children & grandchildren of Exmouth Crew volunteers

For more information please contact Emma Tarling on 07837 810082 or email press@exmouthlifeboat.org.uk. Alternatively, please contact Emma Haines, Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847 or email emma_haines@rnli.org.uk.

George Bearman II getting ready to launch beside Shannon class lifeboat

RNLI/Emma Tarling

The inshore lifeboat launches from the ramp before the event
Deputy Launching Authority, Hedley Saunders with the Honiton Band

RNLI/Emma Tarling

DLA and Master of Ceremonies, Hedley Saunders on the gantry
Father Christmas sitting in front of the tree with Crew volunteers' children and grandchildren

RNLI/Emma Tarling

Father Christmas giving presents to volunteers' children

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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, in a normal year, 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.

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