RNLI Penarth sets out to find first local volunteer Lifeboat Historian

Lifeboats News Release

Penarth Lifeboat Station is on the search for a keen researcher and storyteller to become the RNLI’s first locally appointed volunteer Lifeboat Station Historian, and reveal the stories behind Penarth’s lifeboat station since it re-opened in 1980.

Portrait of RNLI Penarth's crew gathered together on the slipway with the station's lifeboats

RNLI Penarth

RNLI Penarth's crew in 2018

The volunteer historian, as well as collecting information and statistics on the lifeboats and launches, will research and collect oral histories from the many people who have been involved with Penarth’s lifeboat station over the years, from past lifeboat crew and family members to the hundreds of volunteers and people throughout the community who have come into contact with the station over the last 40 years.

RNLI Penarth’s first lifeboat station was built in 1861 for a cost of £118, before being relocated in 1884 when Penarth Esplanade was constructed. The station closed in 1905, and Penarth would have no lifeboat station for another 75 years, until the increasing popularity of Penarth as a destination for tourism and leisure boating saw the need for lifeboat services to be re-established in 1980. Penarth’s current purpose-built lifeboat station was constructed in 1995.

While RNLI Penarth’s 19 century history has been well documented, the history of the station since its re-opening in 1980 has not received the same attention. The Volunteer Lifeboat Station historian will record the stories they uncover so that everyone in the community can access them and experience this key part of Penarth’s history.

Laurie Pavelin, Chair of RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station, said:

“Penarth’s lifeboat station has been a central part of the community since 1980, and in that time it has played a part in many people’s lives. The people of Penarth have volunteered, fundraised, attended events, brought safety lessons to schools, and played a part in the RNLI’s lifesaving work in so many different ways. We’re looking forward to welcoming a new volunteer historian who will make sure those stories are preserved for the community.”

Hayley Whiting, RNLI Heritage Archive and Research Manager, said:

“The RNLI take great pride and care in preserving our rich heritage. Recording our fascinating history ensures our story can be told for years to come, inspiring future generations of supporters and lifesavers. It’s exciting to have worked with RNLI Penarth to develop this new volunteer historian role, and we hope similar projects could also be rolled out across other lifeboat stations.”

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.

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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.