Emergency call triggers new arrival for RNLI volunteer and GP lifesaver
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat crew volunteer, Dr Ed Schwarz, who is also a GP, quickly responded as his lifeboat pager sounded for an emergency on Friday night (17 April). Little did he know his pregnant wife would go into early labour just minutes after he rushed out the door.
Ed, a volunteer with St Agnes RNLI since 2016, is all too familiar with his pager going off and being ready at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea on the charity’s lifeboats. The evening of 17 April was supposed to be no different when it sounded again. But, no sooner had Ed left home, and unbeknown to him, his wife, Lucy, went into labour.
A GP at a surgery in Penzance, Ed’s life revolves around helping those in need, whether it be at the GP practice or volunteering to help those in danger on the sea. Ed is just one of many of thousands of volunteers remaining on-call for the charity’s lifeboats across the UK and Ireland’s 238 lifeboat stations during these unprecedented times.
The call-out on this occasion was to two kayakers being blown half-a-mile offshore. Thankfully, on arriving at the lifeboat station, enough crew had already mustered and Ed wasn’t required, so he could return home while his fellow crew volunteers brought the kayakers back to safety unharmed.
On returning home, Ed says: ‘Thankfully I wasn’t required for the call and due to social distancing, I returned home quickly rather than waiting to see what the outcome was. However, as I walked through the front door Lucy told me her waters had broken. My first thoughts were, I haven’t packed the bag, that was this weekend’s job. After making a quick call to the midwife and throwing some essentials together, off to hospital we went.’
Baby Schwarz was born at Treliske Hospital at 3.30am on 17 April, a little earlier than his expected due date, and weighing 6.1lb. Mum Lucy and baby Schwarz are both fit and well. Ed and Lucy have yet to choose a name for him, as he decided to make a hasty arrival.
On announcing the arrival of his new addition to his fellow volunteers, Ed sent a picture and said: ‘I think we need to talk about the future staffing of our station. With that in mind, can I propose a future helm in 18 years’ time?.’
St Agnes RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Kimberley says: ‘We believe baby Schwarz might be the youngest person ever to respond to the famous RNLI pager. He didn’t quite make this shout, but he seems keen and given a few years he might well be on the lifeboat, so I have the paperwork primed!’
Ed says: ‘My day job as a GP has been extremely busy in recent weeks, from doing phone triage to essential home visits to families with potential COVID-19 symptoms. When I’m not working, my RNLI pager is on ready to respond, however, due to the nature of my job, I’m careful to keep my distance when doing so. I think my wife Lucy, might enforce some time off call now.’
Ed, who knows only too well the pressures faced by NHS staff, says: ‘We want to say a huge thank you to the NHS staff. They were amazing, especially given the current situation.’
Funded by voluntary donations, the RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea across the UK and Ireland. It relies on thousands of dedicated volunteers who are ready to risk their lives to save others in danger on the sea.
To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate.
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.