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Mother and daughter’s first Christmas on-call together at Cullercoats RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is launching its Christmas appeal today (Monday 12 December), as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea.

Helen Cowan

Anna and Kay Heslop at Cullercoats RNLI

This Christmas many will leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family and see those in trouble at sea safely returned. Over the past decade, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 1,200 times during the festive period.

In the past five years in the North and East specifically, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 80 times and aided 36 people during the festive season.

At Cullercoats RNLI it will be Anna and Kay Heslop’s first Christmas on-call together. Anna joined the lifeboat station over a decade ago and is now a helm on the inshore lifeboat.

Kay always supported her daughter’s volunteering and regularly helped out with fundraising at the station. This year she joined the operational team when she took on the role of volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Kay explained: ‘Before I became Lifeboat Operations Manager at Cullercoats RNLI, I’d sometimes drive Anna to call-outs and one year she got paged around 4.40am on Christmas morning. I dropped her off at the lifeboat station and distinctly remember standing outside in the moonlight in my pyjamas!

‘We’ll both have pagers this Christmas, so we could end up being at the station together again over the festive season. A call can come at any time and our volunteers will drop whatever they are doing, be that tucking into their Christmas dinner or opening their presents. At this time of year, the weather’s at its worst and lives are on the line.

‘There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families – especially at Christmas. I’m immensely proud of all the lifeboat crew at Cullercoats but the team couldn’t rescue people without kind donations from the public which fund their kit, training, and equipment that they need to save others and get home safely to their families.’

The RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal please visit:

RNLI Picture caption

The photograph shows (left to right) Anna Heslop and Kay Heslop outside Cullercoats RNLI. Credit: Helen Cowan.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North and East on: 07824 518641 or email: [email protected]

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.