Invergordon RNLI Volunteers first Christmas on call amidst a Perfect Storm

Lifeboats News Release

As the festive season is upon us, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help.

Crew Member John Williams on call this Christmas

RNLI/Michael MacDonald

Crew Member John Williams on call this Christmas
On average, in the past decade, the RNLI’s lifeboats around the UK and Ireland have launched over 8,000 times each year. In the ’90s they averaged 6,000 launches a year, while in the ’70s it was less than 3,000 launches a year. Last year (2018) was our lifeboat crews’ busiest year in terms of the number of people aided (9,412 people).

Invergordon RNLI is no exception, where we have launched on service 25 times throughout 2019, making this one of our busier years to date.

Saving lives at sea is inherently risky – our volunteers are willing to put their own lives at risk to rescue others and the RNLI take pride on providing us with the best Lifeboats, kit and training, with our safety always being paramount.

As our crew prepare to enjoy the festivities and enjoy their Christmas Dinner, the pagers will not be very far from their side, ready to answer the call as they normally would! What makes this Christmas more unique is two of our crew will be carrying pagers for the first time this festive season! With John Williams and Reece Porter on call for their first of many festive periods is what makes the RNLI the family it is today.

John & Reece who have joined the crew early 2019 has went through intensive on station training and learning the ropes on the Trent Class All-weather Lifeboat ‘Douglas Aikman Smith’ who has been stationed and on service in Invergordon since 1995, with 2020 sees the new Shannon Class Lifeboat 'Ages AP Barr' (13-37) arrive on station, complete with the Launch a Memory Decal holding around 10,000 names of supporters loved ones.

John (40) a Plater with a local engineering firm, said. “Being part of the RNLI is an honour for me, it's history and origins are steeped in selflessness, kindness bravery. It offers a challenge and gives the opportunity to learn and achieve so many valuable skills that you can carry through your everyday life. It's given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people who have shared their knowledge and expertise with him me, along with friendship, laughter and a sense of being a valued member of the team.

Being on call over Christmas to me embodies what the RNLI is all about, Christmas is a time of giving and a time of compassion, a time when people need one another. It's also a family time and if my being on call might help someone in need make it home safely to their family and loved ones, I can't think of a better gift than that.”

One of the youngest members of the Invergordon volunteer crew is Reece (21) an apprentice engineer for Scottish Water, when asked what it means to him on being part of the RNLI and being on call for Christmas advised “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like this and joining the RNLI was the perfect opportunity for me to make a difference and help people in need. Being a part of the RNLI has not only filled me with pride but has given me amazing opportunities in life and skills that I’ll always have!

Being on call for Christmas obviously not only does it take a toll on your family life but also on your social, what better Christmas present than saving a life at sea or rescuing someone in need.”

As the RNLI faces 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.

Lifeboat Press Officer Michael MacDonald advised “As Christmas Day is almost upon us, our Crew will be responding to their pagers as normal, 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

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.org/ThePerfectStorm

RNLI/Michael MacDonald

Crew Member Reece Porter on call this Christmas

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.

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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.