Following in father’s footsteps
Walmer volunteer helm receives his 20 Year Service Medal.
After returning from exercise yesterday 20 September, Walmer helm James Evans was presented with his 20-year service medal by his father Tony, who himself had served as second coxswain on the station’s Rother Class lifeboat Hampshire Rose before its retirement from service, as helm on their Atlantic 21 James Burgess and numerous D Class lifeboats. He is currently one of Walmer’s deputy launching authorities. With Tony having served for 44 years, he and James have over 60 years of service to the Institution between them.
James has been going to Walmer’s boathouse on Sunday mornings for exercises for as long as he can remember. He recalls attending service calls and sitting on the beach with other volunteers waiting for the boat to return. He joined crew on his 17th birthday and spent a couple of years as a crew member alongside his father until he stepped down. He passed out as helm on the station’s D Class lifeboat in 2008 and on its Atlantic in 2010.
He recalls one of his most memorable ‘shouts’ being soon after he joined when the lifeboat was called to attend a cabin cruiser which had run aground on the beach nearby. After pulling the vessel off the beach and rescuing the crew they towed the boat to Ramsgate Harbour.
Speaking after receiving the award James said: ‘So much has changed since I joined – the boats, and equipment have evolved. The culture of crew has, however, remained the same. You don’t worry about turning out at 3am on a stormy night when you know you are going to sea with the best trained crews.’
Notes to editors
Walmer lifeboat station was established in1856.
It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.
Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry
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.