RNLI crew in Littlehampton sacrifice their Christmas sprouts to save others
Whether it’s a sailor in trouble or a dog cut off by the tide, RNLI volunteers at Littlehampton Lifeboat Station will be ready to spring into action this Christmas – even if it means sacrificing their traditional sprouts!
Lifeboat crews in Littlehampton have experienced Christmas shouts four years on the trot but say that no matter what the call is, it’s worth it for the rewarding feeling of seeing those in trouble at sea being safely returned to their loved ones.
Even in those times when the launch ends up being cancelled, the volunteers still drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the rescue. Nick White, Lifeboat Operations Manager at RNLI Littlehampton Lifeboat Station, remembers one Christmas Day shout which put an end to his Christmas dinner:
‘My pager went off just as the sprouts reached cooking perfection. The call involved a small vessel that was drifting in the harbour,’ he explained.
‘I had to drop everything and run to the station for the crew assembly, expecting to launch the inshore lifeboat. When we arrived, the launch was cancelled following a report from the Coastguard that a line had been thrown to the casualty vessel which was pulled to safety.’
‘Thankfully, everyone was well, and they were able to celebrate Christmas Day. Unfortunately, the sprouts were ruined!’
But most of the time, the lifeboat does launch, and it’s with dedication and courage that the RNLI lifesavers respond to the call without knowing what to expect.
On 27 December 2020, the volunteer crew of Littlehampton RNLI rescued a cockapoo who had become stuck on the western shingle bank close to the entrance of the harbour. Cut off by the tide, the dog was unable to get back to the shore. The crew launched the station’s D class, Ray of Hope, at 3.02pm and four minutes later, they successfully rescued the pet who was reunited with its worried owner.
On 29 December 2018 at 23.17pm, they were there when the emergency services responded to a person in distress who in the end got back home safely for New Year’s Eve.
And on 24 December in 2017, at 9.01am, the lifeboat crews in Littlehampton responded to a call involving a windsurfing board stranded at sea, after its owner was unable to return it to land. The lifeboat crew was soon making its way across the waves and brought the board ashore.
These rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.
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 visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
Notes to editors
- Over the past five years, RNLI lifeboats in the South East have launched 188 times during the festive period. Last Christmas (24 December 2021–1 January 2022), RNLI lifeboat crews across the South East saved the lives of four people, the highest number recorded in five years. The charity’s volunteer crews also aided 46 people during the 2021 festive period, which is the highest number recorded since 2017.
- The Christmas period refers to 24 December to 1 January
- The five-year period is from 2017 to 2021
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Julie Rainey, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 07827 358256 or email [email protected] or Paul Dunt, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 0778 5296252 or email [email protected] Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 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 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.
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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries