Key donor visits RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat Station to see impact of crew training
Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station recently welcomed a key donor to see how their funding is helping to deliver first class training to volunteers.
The Lawson Trust, set up by the late Tonbridge-based businessman Raymond Lawson and his wife Blanche, has been supporting the volunteers at Dungeness lifeboat station throughout 2017. The Trustees chose to specifically focus on the crew’s essential training as a way to improve their capability, keep them safe while performing their search and rescue operations and to provide them with skills that are valuable to both themselves and the wider Dungeness community.
Trustees Mike Norrie and Sarah Hill, together with Hayley Corker, grants officer from the Lawson Trust, spent a rather chilly day at the station being informed how their donation has impacted on the crew during the last year. They heard first-hand from crew members, including the station Coxswain Stuart Adams who is also Lifeboat Training Coordinator, about how fundamental this training is for all of them, regardless of experience. ‘Our crew come from all walks of life,’ explains Stuart. ‘Some people come with no experience at all. We have a postman, fishmonger and two lorry drivers.’
Crew members progress through competence-based training, which is tailored to the individual and according to the needs of the station. Last year Jason Adams completed his mechanic training plan and Steve Cardew his Coxswain development plan, meaning that he can now deputise for Stuart. This is important for succession planning. Additional units include navigation, health and safety, fire safety and safeguarding, amongst others.
And the training continues on station as the RNLI’s Mobile Training Unit provided additional crew training in 2017, including a level 1 Shannon mechanics training course and a casualty care refresher course. Younger crew member and welder, Dan Head, who joined the crew aged just 17 and is training to be a mechanic, said of his training ‘I’m now thinking ahead on a rescue...I’ve learnt it’s important to keep calm.’
Senior RNLI staff and representatives of the Brenchley, Matfield, Horsmonden and Lamberhurst RNLI Branch, including its Chairman Chris Rhys-Jones, were also present at the visit. The trip wound up with a tour of the station and its Shannon-class all weather lifeboat and the bespoke launch and recovery vehicle it uses, which was enjoyed by all.
As Mike Norrie later commented “We had a wonderful visit and came away overawed by the fantastic, selfless and brave efforts put in by all involved.”
A plaque has been put up in the Lifeboat station recognising the generosity of the Lawson Trust CIO.
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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.