RNLI in Wales celebrates the importance of family during Christmas appeal launch
At a time of reflection, the RNLI is highlighting the generations of families who keep the RNLI afloat by volunteering. Giving up their time to help save lives at sea is a tradition which runs through stations across the Welsh coast, whether it be mums and sons, or dads and daughters.
Now, as the lifesaving charity launches a Christmas fundraising appeal after revealing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The RNLI is saying a special thank you to generations of families who have been prepared to give up their Christmas’ to save lives at sea for many years.
Glesni Williams, 20, a volunteer shore crew member at Barmouth since 2019, has very close historical connections with the RNLI. Her three times grandfather William Griffith served on The Chieftain as bowman and second coxswain from 1939 until 1966. Her great-uncle John Stockford served from 1964 until 1992 and was awarded the RNLI’s silver medal for gallantry, the first to be awarded to the crew of an inshore lifeboat.
Cousin Wil Stockford is helm of the Aberdyfi inshore lifeboat and her cousin Jacob Cleaver is currently a member of the Barmouth RNLI crew.
Glesni’s mum, Clare, is always relieved to see her daughter return home but is incredibly proud of her:
Mum says: ‘Volunteering with the RNLI is a long and proud family tradition for us, things have changed considerably for the RNLI over the year. I was so proud that Glesni decided to follow this tradition. It can be difficult seeing her leave when the pager goes, but I know the RNLI provides her with the very best training and equipment, and her family who are no longer with us would be beaming with pride. I know that Glesni might have to drop everything and run out the door even at Christmas, but what better way to spend the festive period than knowing you can make a real difference if that call comes?’
Glesni was brought up on a farm, she joined the Merioneth Yacht Club Celtic Rowing group and developed a love of the sea. She was out walking when she bumped into RNLI Coxswain Pete Davies who put the idea of joining up into her mind.
Glesni says: ‘The RNLI has always been in my family and it makes me incredibly proud to think I’m carrying on a family tradition. The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like me can wish for is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal. Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit I need to help safely launch the lifeboat which puts to sea in all weather.
‘We’ve had a very challenging summer, rescuing those in difficulty in the midst of a pandemic. As lockdown restrictions lifted, people flocked to the coast and lots of people needed to be rescued by lifeboat crews like ours, right across the country.’
RNLI lifesavers across 238 lifeboat stations are prepared to rush out of the door at the sound of their pager, even during their Christmas dinner.
The RNLI has spent £1.2M this year on PPE, including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus crisis.
RNLI lifesavers continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast. As a charity, the RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. The charity has launched its Christmas Appeal. To support, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Danielle Rush, Regional Media Manager in Wales on 07786 668829 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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.