Three Sunderland RNLI volunteers honoured for 70 years of service
Three volunteers from Sunderland RNLI were last night formally recognised by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for giving more than 70 years of voluntary service to the charity that saves lives at sea.
Sunderland Helmsman Paul Nicholson and Deputy Launching Authorities Martin Andrew and Mike Cowe last night received awards for their time as volunteers at Sunderland lifeboat station.
Lifeboat Operations Manager James Jamieson said: ‘Sunderland RNLI is very fortunate to have such dedicated and loyal volunteers who between them have given a combined total of almost 70 years’ service to the lifeboat station.
The RNLI's best asset are the volunteers and Mike, Paul and Martin are great examples of the commitment and selflessness required to be a member of a lifeboat crew and over a period of many years they have given up their own free time to be available to respond and assist those who get into difficulties in, on or near to the water’.
Martin Andrew said: 'Receiving my award last night was not only recognition of my 20 years service but 20 years of being involved with a great team at Sunderland lifeboat station who's friendship and dedication have made it a privilege to be involved over that period
Mike Cowe first joined the charity in 1980 and through the years progressed to hold both Helmsman and Coxswain qualifications allowing him to take command of both the inshore and all weather lifeboats at sea. Since 2011 he has held the position of deputy launching authority being responsible to approving lifeboat launches and assisting the Operations Manager with the running of the lifeboat station.
Twenty years ago Mike was recognised by the charity receiving a Chairman’s Letter of Thanks for a lifeboat launch which led to a fisherman’s life being saved.
On 20 December 1998, the inshore lifeboat launched into a north westerly Force 6 wind and heavy breaking surf to search for a fisherman who had been swept into the sea at Hendon Tanks. With the assistance of the all-weather boat and a police helicopter, the man was located in a particularly difficult position less than half a cable from the curving sea wall, which resulted in the 16 feet north easterly swell being reflected back on to the lifeboat. It took the combined efforts of all three lifeboat men to get the man into the boat and the successful outcome of this service was the result of exemplary teamwork, determination and seamanship.
Lifeboat Helmsman Paul Nicholson said: ‘Being involved in some memorable rescues over the years has made the job of saving lives at sea extremely worthwhile. For me and Martin to receive our long service award alongside Mike is particularly special as it through Mike that we both first became involved with the charity. Throughout our lifeboat career he continued to be a friend and mentor who we looked to for advice and guidance as we developed and progressed through the ranks at the station.
Image 1 - Martin Andrew (left), Paul Nicholson (right), and Mike Cowe (middle right) with Operations Manager James Jamieson (middle left).
Image 2 - RNLI 20 year long service award
Image 3 - Fisherman rescued in 1998 returns to the lifeboat station to say thank you. (Lifeboat crew Martin Barry, Mike Cowe, and Brian Barkess)
Notes to editors
• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operation lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.
• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates its own website www.rnlisunderland.org where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities.
• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station has a profile on Twitter (SunderlandRNLI) and Facebook (RNLI Sunderland) where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities and news.
• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates two inshore type lifeboats: An Atlantic 85 8.3m inflatable capable of 35 knots and a D Class (IB-1) 4.5m inflatable capable of 25 knots.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone:
Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - email@example.com
As an alternative please contact RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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