Bridlington RNLI volunteer stands down after 30 years of service
RNLI volunteer crew member Grant Walkington has been attending Bridlington Lifeboat Station since he was old enough to be pushed there in a pram.
It was on Grant's 17th birthday that he joined Bridlington lifeboat crew and since then has crewed both the inshore lifeboat (ILB) as helm and he passed out as deputy coxswain for the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) in 2018 following intensive training at the RNLI College in Poole.
This month marks his 30th year of voluntary service of serving the community of Bridlington and Grant feels that now is the right time to stand down. Grant has countless stories from lifeboat launches in both lifeboats; from rescuing two teenagers stuck in backwash near North Pier, to being the ALB coxswain in the search for the missing US Air Force pilot in June 2020.
Grant explained how a supportive employer and family has made his three decades of volunteering possible: 'I've been really fortunate to have had the full support and encouragement of my employer, Lloyd Dowson Accountants and this has enabled me to attend call outs during my working day. The support from my family has been invaluable too as they knew that their plans could change as soon as that pager went off.'
Whilst Grant is stepping down from volunteering at Bridlington RNLI, he wishes the station and its crew the best for the future and is grateful for the friends he's made and the experiences he's shared with the community of Bridlington.
Unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 restrictions the crew at Bridlington were unable to give Grant the send-off he deserves, but Bridlington Lifeboat Station Chairman, Dave Garnett has offered his thanks on behalf of the RNLI and the station: 'Grant has been a wonderfully dedicated volunteer at Bridlington and we're sad to see him step down. I'm sure I speak for a huge amount of people in expressing my gratitude for the sacrifices that both Grant and his family have made in the name of saving lives at sea.'
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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.