Two volunteer crew members pass out at Ilfracombe RNLI station

Lifeboats News Release

Two volunteer crew members have recently passed their training to operate lifesaving equipment at Ifracombe RNLI station

Brendan and Lucy in Ilfracombe RNLI station in front of the Shannon class lifeboat

RNLI/Paula Kingdon

Brendan and Lucy in Ilfracombe RNLI station

Brendan Ashford is a fully qualified crew member on the D class inshore lifeboat and is now available to go on shouts for the station. Lucy Simpson has also passed her training to operate the Shannon Launch and Recovery System (SLARS). She is now fully qualified to drive the 54-tonne, £1.5 million vehicle which launches and recovers the Shannon class lifeboat. Lucy is the first female in the south west to complete training in the Launch and Recovery System, and is one of a handful of women in the UK with this specialist skill.

Brendan has been volunteering and training with Ilfracombe RNLI for almost two years. The training process to become a crew member is detailed and lengthy, including initial training as shore crew to launch and recover the lifeboat, then training in safety procedures and first aid training to assist casualties. He says: ‘I am extremely pleased to join the volunteer crew at Ilfracombe. It has taken a huge amount of work but I'm proud to be part of such a fantastic crew. Volunteering with the RNLI is an opportunity to give something back to the local community. It’s great to be able to make a difference’.

Lucy, who has previously spent five years as a crew member on the station’s all weather and inshore lifeboats, is the only female in the south west qualified and trained to operate the Shannon Launch and Recovery System. The training first included learning to operate the vehicle for launches, then progressing to the trickier recovery process which requires lining up the lifeboat, then hauling and winching it onto the cradle. Lucy says: ‘I am so happy to have passed out as a driver for the Shannon Launch and Recovery System and am very proud. I love being in the driver’s seat, it’s a very challenging role as the driver cannot see the slipway and has to be guided by the shore crew, it’s very much a team effort. It’s especially difficult for me as I am so short I can’t see the front of the carriage!’

Chris Wallis, RNLI Operations Manager for RNLI Ilfracombe Lifeboat Station, added: ‘Congratulations to Brendan and Lucy for all their hard work and dedication to the RNLI. Volunteers like Brendan and Lucy give their time to the charity so we can continue our work of saving lives at sea.’

Notes to editors

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Paula Kingdon, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07786 433744 or paula_kingdon@rnli.org.uk Paul Jones RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07952 600501 or paul_jones2@rnli.org.uk or Emma Haines, Press Officer (South) on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Media and Public Relations on 01202 336789

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For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 180 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 140,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland

Shannon Launch and Recovery vehicle

RNLI/Paula Kingdon

Shannon Launch and Recovery vehicle

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, 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.