Teddington lifeboat couple ready for first Christmas on call as husband and wife
Husband and wife Sam and Jan Lowe are going to be swapping dinner roast for knots and wellies this festive season as they prepare for their first Christmas volunteering together with Teddington RNLI.
The couple, who have three children and who both work in IT, joined the charity that saves lives at sea earlier this year and volunteer as part of the shore crew, who help launch and recover the lifeboat when it’s called out on a rescue.
Over the past five years, Teddington RNLI, a station run entirely by volunteers, has launched nine times during the festive period*. This year the station will be on call again with its volunteers ready to swap Christmas cheer for the cold waters of the River Thames. The station responds to emergencies from Richmond to Hampton court.
Jan, who is an IT architect and Sam, a Tech Director, both started volunteering for the charity that saves lives at sea in May. Although being shore crew is quite different from their day jobs, they will be ready to respond to their pagers and drop everything, even during Christmas dinner, to rush to the station and help the crew launch.
Speaking about how it feels to be on call for the first time, Sam said: ‘I imagine the first few times when you get the call, you’re bound to be nervous and exhilarated by it. Maybe the exhilaration never goes, but yet I’m very determined to get it right and focus so the lifeboat can go out into the river as quickly as possible. We’ve been practising for a long time, so we’ll look forward to getting it all done well.’
Jan added: ‘I feel excited to use the training I’ve done, and I think, on Christmas Day, in particular, I’d want to make sure that someone was safe. It would be awful to think something tragic could happen. The lifeboat crews are on-call every day of the year, but I feel it’s particularly important to get someone back safely to their family or somewhere safe on Christmas Day.’
As the parents of three boys, Sam and Jan are both really keen to ensure people know about the dangers posed by the River Thames and to do all they can to prevent tragedies in its often treacherous waters. This has motivated them even more to volunteer for the RNLI.
‘We’ve been acutely aware that we’ve got two 14-year-old boys who go to school on the other side of the river, and they spend a lot of time around the water. Children and young people often go to the Thames to cool down in the hot weather and jump into the river without knowing the risks. The RNLI seemed a fantastic charity to be involved in because of the many roles you can have that contribute to saving somebody’s life,’ Jan said.
Sam and Jan have been participating in online and weekly training exercises covering everything from boat handling, equipment, types of knots, and mental health. They meet the crew every Tuesday and sometimes on Saturdays when they can get more practice on the things they learnt over the week. Both are hoping to join the crew on the lifeboat next year.
Matt Allchurch, Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) at Teddington RNLI, said: ‘At this time of year, the weather’s at its worst and lives are on the line. We know that every time our crews go out they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case.
‘There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families – especially at Christmas. As lifeboat crew we couldn’t rescue people without kind donations from the public which fund the kit, training and equipment we need to save others and get home safely to our families.’
The RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea and on the Thames.
To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
Notes to editors
- The Christmas period refers to 24 December to 1 January*
- The five-year period is from 2017 to 2021
- Teddington Lifeboat Station was established in 2002 and operates two D class lifeboats, which are highly manoeuvrable and ideally suited to working in the fast-flowing and often shallow waters of the River Thames.
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
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