Newhaven's RNLI lifeboat and her volunteer crew rallied last week to taskings as varied as the Autumn weather. With the support of a dedicated community and a raft of recent training the team are readier than ever to continue saving lives at sea - despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was a reflective start to the week. RNLI Newhaven crew members gathered alongside the boathouse to show their respect for the late Brian Ashdown. He dedicated over twenty years of his life volunteering as assistant mechanic. He made his final pass past the Lifeboat station on Tuesday 13 October, the day of his funeral.
RNLI pagers have continued to bleep throughout these unprecedented months of Covid-19. Like all RNLI stations, Newhaven has respected social distancing measures. Training operations have been significantly reduced in order to limit the risk of infection. Despite these challenges Newhaven has continued to bolster its team.
Danny Woodford achieved crew on Wednesday 14 October after passing his final assessment. Danny signed up to the crew two years ago. This year alone he has been on forty-one launches, twenty-two of which were to emergency incidents.
Roger Cohen, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, says: ‘Newhaven has a long history as a community who recognises the importance of its lifeboat station. We are grateful for that. It takes a huge amount of dedication from our team and a great deal of pride to match this commitment.’
Another nine members of the twenty strong volunteer crew were also assessed and passed an impressive twenty-seven collective units between them on Thursday 15 October. Assessment categories ranged from mechanical knowledge to crew fitness to navigation, with two crew now additionally qualified to navigate the All Weather Lifeboat.
Newhaven’s most recently welcomed crew member Jo Goode, joined in September from Brighton Lifeboat Station, where she had been active crew for over two years.
On Thursday 15 October Newhaven’s 'David and Elizabeth Acland' Severn class lifeboat and her volunteer crew launched on exercise to test the newly delivered towing equipment to aid the safety of crew when conducting towing.This year Newhaven Lifeboat has been launched fifty-nine times and on fourteen occasions the Coxswain decided towing of the casualty vessel to be the most appropriate means of rescue.
Pagers also sounded last week on Wednesday 14 October to a person cut off by the tide west of Birling Gap and on Sunday 18 October to a reported kayaker in difficulty at Pevensey Bay, which turned out to be a tree branch. A false alarm with good intent.
As the weather turns, the RNLI is looking back on a challenging year with many of its big annual fundraising events cancelled, most of our shops closed and many of our amazing supporters unable to carry out collections.
The fall in funding has meant the RNLI has had to pause building some of its lifeboats, as well as delaying station maintenance and crew training.
For that reason the Newhaven crew are hoping the public will support this month's Fish Supper campaign that raises funds to keep the lifeboats launching and afloat. This year, due to coronavirus, Fish Supper has moved online. Lifeboat crews and lifeguards from around the south east, including Newhaven Coxswain Lewis Arnold, will be hosting the final event of the campaign, a seaside-themed quiz on Zoom at 7pm this Friday 23 October.
We hope as many people as possible will take the bait and join in to help the RNLI to continue saving lives.
Details of how to sign up are here:
Notes to editors
• The RNLI relies on public donations to provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coast of the UK and Ireland, and on the Thames. Through this summer of lovely weather and travel restrictions, RNLI crews and lifeguards have been busier than ever, but fundraising collections and events have been severely limited so events like Virtual Fish Supper are more important than ever to support the charity’s volunteer lifesavers.
• Newhaven Lifeboat was founded in 1803.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Roz Ashton, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07900 887423 or [email protected]
or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 [email protected]
or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
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
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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.