A sad goodbye to a great fundraiser and personality
At the end of November we say goodbye to the Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers Chair, Lynn Spillett, who is leaving us as she is moving away from Brixham.
Rather than list the lifeboat operations and fundraising successes this piece is focussed on the changes Lynn has brought about over the last 15 years.
Lynn joined Brixham Lifeboat Guild (precursor to TLF) on 6 March 2006.
She took over the running of the kiosk (at that time it was still the little cubby hole in the lifeboat station) in August 2007. She has continued to manage the kiosk, now a rather posh shed, which now takes in over £30,000 per annum and allows all year round trading.
In March 2015 she was elected as Chair of the Brixham Lifeboat Guild and continued to run the kiosk. She came to the role with some aspirations to change a few things and modernise our approach to fundraising. She has achieved most of what she set out to do – always with the great support and help from the TLF Committee and members, the Lifeboat Station team and the RNLI.
I make no apologies for using some of Lynn’s words to describe the highlights of her time since becoming Chair of the Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers:
Let’s shout about what we do…….. Back in 2015 we didn’t have a mechanism in place to communicate with and update all our fundraising members and supporters on fundraising throughout the year, leaving it until the AGM in March to present a report for the past year. We set about building a process to distribute a monthly newsletter and general update emails, gradually developing it over the years with the results you see today that come to you from our TLF email distribution system.
Reach out to the whole Bay……….Many of you may remember the ‘Brixham Lifeboat Guild’ – TLF’s predecessor. With the closure of the Torquay Fundraising Branch many years ago, and then the Paignton Branch, it seemed the ideal opportunity in 2018 to re-name our Brixham based guild to become Torbay Lifeboat Fundraisers, with the aim of reaching our fundraising around the whole Bay and encourage fundraising to return in Torquay and Paignton – it’s taken a while, but we are gradually getting there!
Proud moments........Seeing David Ham (ex-Torbay Lifeboat Management Group Chair) receive his MBE in 2016 and Mark Criddle receive his OBE in 2018 – both for their services to the RNLI.
Taking time to say thank you…..We introduced at our AGM annual awards to TLF members who had ‘gone the extra nautical mile’ - recognising the huge efforts made to our fundraising success.
Our new shed……..After many years of our volunteers standing in the cold wind and sometimes rain selling souvenirs from tables outside the station, we finally opened our new kiosk, which has gone from strength to strength taking in excess of £30k per annum. Yes, it is referred to as a shed by many, but we are extremely proud of it and it enables us to trade all year round instead of just April to September as we used to in the ‘old days’!
Great relationships………We have built some very successful fundraising relationships with businesses around the Bay – Sainsbury’s back in 2016 and Hoburne Holiday Park in 2019 - to name but two!
Let’s Celebrate……….Torbay Lifeboat Station’s 150th Anniversary in 2016 was a fantastic celebration. My lasting memory will be standing on stage at the Berry Head Hotel alongside Tim Wonnacott from BBC’s Bargain Hunt whilst he auctioned items donated to us for fundraising.
Just like the Albert Hall…….Our numerous PROMS at the Berry Head Hotel – seeing everyone wave their RNLI flags to Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia always brought tears to my eyes!
Likes and Shares…….Getting our TLF social media up and running back in 2018 – enabling us to get our fundraising message out to non-TLF members too!
Girls you can certainly sing……..Seeing the creation of the Torbay Lifeboat WAGs Choir and their performances at our Christmas Carol Services.
Watch out Slade, you have competition…..I couldn’t possibly mention the WAGs without mentioning our Carol Service in 2019 – the best ever! Watching our crew perform ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ is a memory that will live with me forever – what a class act!
Covid……Probably one of my proudest memories – how we managed to keep our fundraising going through such difficult times is just exemplary. TLF committee – you should be massively proud too – the ideas you came up with were simply incredible, I salute you all!
Special friendships…..I have built some great friendships along the way and had some very amusing moments... not least with our crew! Laughing at times until my sides ached, treasured memories!
These few words paint a picture of a very special lady, full of enthusiasm, boundless energy, great humour and the ability to engage and enthuse others in her team. She will be greatly missed but not forgotten!
For more information on all RNLI Torbay activities, go to www.torbaylifeboat.co.uk. You will find a wealth of useful information from the history of Torbay Lifeboat to current shouts and fundraising activities.
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.