Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat Operations Manager to be presented with a Civic award
Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager Matthew Davies is to be presented with a civic award by Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea town Council, for his outstanding service to the community.
Alongside three other local residents, Matt will receive his award at a special civic service in St John’s Church, Highbridge on Sunday 16 September. The council press release summarises Matt’s contribution below:-
The Council writes; ‘Matt is currently the volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat Station. All of Matt’s work has been completed on a volunteer basis and has involved many hours of hard work. He became one of the very first people suffering from diabetes to be accepted by the RNLI as operational boat crew. Matt has been instrumental in ensuring that a successful lifeboat and lifesaving service have been provided to the community for well over 20 years’
Matt’s service is expanded in ‘Notes for Editors’ of this release.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Image with this release (RNLI/Mike Lang) File name: Matt_ricky
Shows the symbolic handing over of keys as Matt takes over from previous LOM Ricky Holmes
Expansion of Matt’s RNLI service
Matt has made an invaluable contribution to the station, through a period of considerable change within the RNLI. He is highly respected by station personnel, the management within the RNLI and other local lifesaving agencies.
In the last year there have been new roles to recruit and manage; a quarterly review meeting with BARB and the local Coastguard team has been organised and liaison with the wider emergency services teams has been established.
Matt started his volunteer community lifesaving career by joining BARB in 1994, following the ‘Challenge Anneka’ charity fundraising initiative to build a new boathouse and subsequent appeal for local people to join the volunteer crew.
Matt initially started off by helping with fundraising, raising money to help keep the BARB charity running and the lifeboat ready for service. In recognition of his enthusiasm and commitment, after a short time Matt took on other roles, becoming lifeboat crew and subsequently coxswain, launch tractor driver and mechanic. Furthermore, Matt was involved in the process of acquiring the first lifesaving hovercraft to operate at Burnham.
Following an approach made to the RNLI, the lifeboat operation provided by BARB was taken over by the RNLI in 2003. Matt officially became a member of the RNLI on 27th May 2003 and has continued undertaking a number of different roles culminating in his appointment as the ‘LOM’ for the lifeboat station on 1st January 2014.
The dedication Matt has routinely displayed is evidenced by the fact he became one of the very first persons suffering from diabetes to be accepted by the RNLI as operational boat crew. Indeed, it was only for medical reasons that Matt subsequently retired from the lifeboat crew and elected to take up a senior shore based role.
Lifeboats in service at Burnham-on-Sea:
A 7.5m Atlantic 75 named Staines Whitfield and a smaller 4.95m D class IB1 inflatable named Burnham Reach The station was opened officially on 15th May 2004, but has been operational since December 2003.
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.