Redcar RNLI faces ‘Perfect Storm’ at end of notable year

Lifeboats News Release

As the festive season approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help. The charity is facing a ‘Perfect Storm’, with an increase in people needing its help and a shortfall in funds. This means support from the public is more vital than ever.

Nathan Hobday.

Dave Cocks and Mike Picknett

Last year, RNLI volunteers along the east coast of England experienced their joint busiest festive period* since records began. There were 19 lifeboat launches along the east coast* from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, compared with just two launches 40 years ago.

This year has been a notable one in Redcar RNLI’s rich lifesaving history (which dates back to 1802) as the charity launches its biggest ever fundraising campaign, The Perfect Storm.*

Dave Cocks, who has volunteered at the lifeboat station for 41 years, recently stepped down from his role as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM). However, he remains as Volunteer Press Officer.

Tony Jamieson and Bob O'Neill have also clocked up one hundred years of RNLI service between them. Tony and Bob have both received the RNLI's Excellence in Volunteering Award and will be presented with their 50-year medals in 2020.

Dave Cocks said: ‘The RNLI is in my blood and my father was on the crew at Redcar for 54 years. As a boy I used to visit the boat house and had the honour of polishing the lifeboat’s brass propellers. In 1978 I enrolled as a crew member before becoming a launch vehicle driver/mechanic and then Deputy Launching Authority. I became the Lifeboat Operations Manager six years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed my role.’

Although Dave remains firmly one of the team at Redcar, he felt it was time to step down from his role as LOM.

Dave explained: ‘I’ve been volunteering since I was 22 and although I really relished my role as LOM, when the pager went off, it was getting tougher and tougher to get out of bed! The station is in very safe hands though as Mike Picknett has taken on the role. He’s very capable and an excellent successor.

‘I have a lifetime of special memories and I’ll never forget the first life that I was involved with saving. The chap was a young teacher who had been tipped out of his canoe. When we got to the scene, his eyes were looking past me up to the heavens – he’d decided it was his last breath - and we decided it wasn’t.

‘We got him to safety, and I’d love to think that he went on to teach thousands of children and that we played our bit in what he’s done for other people.’

As Christmas Day fast approaches Dave is reminding people that RNLI volunteers are ready to down their pagers whatever day of the year it is.

He added: ‘We don’t think anything of being on call at Christmas – it’s what we do and what we’re trained for. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public though. The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before.

‘When we launch our lifeboat for example, to a family of four trapped at cliffs in Saltburn, we’d probably use around £50 of fuel. If someone can give us £50, they might just be paying for our next rescue and enabling those four people to go on to enjoy many more Christmases together.’

To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit

RNLI Picture captions

The photograph shows (left to Right) Dave Cocks and Mike Picknett. Credit: Nathan Hobday.

The following link includes a press release (and photo) about Tony Jamieson and Bob O'Neill’s dedicated service to Redcar RNLI:

Notes to editors

*The RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal has been launched in response to some major challenges the charity is facing. In 2018, the RNLI’s financial resources dropped by £28.6M, while its crews are busier than ever.

* The causes of callouts over the festive period have changed over the years. National figures show in the early 80s the most common reason for callouts was to commercial fishing vessels and powered craft. Since 2000, many of those needing help are often just visiting the coast and not out on vessels or watercraft. As well as slips, trips and falls, tidal cut offs are also a contributing factor to RNLI call outs.

*Festive periods calculated from 24 Dec – 1 Jan

*Regional statistics cover the east coast from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Burnham-on-Crouch.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer (North East & East) on: 07824 518641 Email: [email protected],uk

Or, Jim Rice RNLI Regional Media Manager (North East & East) on: 07810 658072 | 01362 850076 Email: [email protected]

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 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.

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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.