Falmouth RNLI volunteer awarded for 20 years of service

Lifeboats News Release

Tom Bird, a long-standing crew member at Falmouth Lifeboat Station, has been awarded a Long Service Medal by the RNLI for 20 years of service.

RNLI/Simon Culliford

L to R: Coxwain, Jonathon Blakeston presenting Tom Bird with his Long Service Award

Tom first joined the RNLI in 2001 and has attended 538 shouts since, crewing both the inshore and the all-weather lifeboats during that time. He also shares the mechanic position for the inshore lifeboat (ILB), Robina Nixon Chard, and is responsible for the boat’s maintenance.

In 2006, Tom was one of seven members of Falmouth's RNLI team to receive a national award after they rescued eight people on board a powerless 32-metre cargo vessel, during a violent storm the previous year. Galina had lost all power 11 miles east of Falmouth and was in danger of being driven ashore. Falmouth's lifeboat coxswain at the time - Mark Pollard - was awarded an RNLI Bronze Medal for fortitude, exemplary leadership, and outstanding seamanship while Tom received a medical service certificate for the crucial part he played in the infamous local rescue.

Falmouth Lifeboat Coxwain, Jonathon Blakeston said: “I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to Tom for two decades of service and dedication to the town’s lifeboats. It’s a remarkable achievement.

“I would also like to thank Pendennis Shipyard where Tom works, for allowing him to attend hundreds of shouts since 2001.

“Tom is long-serving and well-respected member of the crew. We are very grateful to him for his years of volunteering and for helping to keep the Falmouth community safe at sea."

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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