From classroom to sea - new Coxswain appointed at Port St Mary RNLI
For teacher and RNLI volunteer Richard Leigh, the 2021 summer half term will always be memorable as he passed his assessment to become a Coxswain on the Port St Mary Trent Class Lifeboat Gough Ritchie II. The crew and Branch members extend their congratulations to this popular Port St Mary resident.
Richard joined as an RNLI volunteer on both the all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat on 25 February 1998. Over the years he has been dedicated to continue developing his lifeboat skills, working his way up as a Navigator and then Helm on the inshore lifeboat.
Since joining Port St Mary RNLI he has subsequently taken part as crew on 90 all-weather lifeboat service calls and 30 inshore lifeboat incidents. His first shout for the all-weather lifeboat was on 13 May 1998 being only three months after joining as an RNLI volunteer.
One shout that is particularly memorable for Richard was 11 January 2000 to search for the ill-fated Solway Harvester when the Port St Mary RNLI crew were at sea for 10 hours in very bad weather. Another vividly recalled shout was an early morning incident for a visiting motor cruiser Tomi Jay II that was rapidly sinking some two miles from the lifeboat station with a person trapped in the cabin.
Richard's involvement for the RNLI continues on land as well in a fundraising capacity where he has raised several thousand pounds having competed in the End to End race and successfully finishing the gruelling Parish Walk on no less than three occasions. It is no co-incidence that Richard’s father Ken just happens to be Honorary Treasurer for the Branch.
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.