Lyme Regis RNLI volunteers remain on call over Twixmas and New Year

Lifeboats News Release

Each year RNLI volunteers across the south west are prepared to leave their loved ones during the festive season* to save others who may be in danger. One of Lyme Regis’s lifeboat crew, Dave Holland was one of a crew of four who responded to their pager on New Year’s Eve last year (31 December 2021)

RNLI/Lyme Regis

Dave Holland Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat crew

Dave continues to be on call again this year, throughout the festive season, along with many thousands of other RNLI volunteers.

Over the past five years, figures show that the crew at Lyme Regis RNLI launched during the festive period four out of the five years – in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

Volunteer lifeboat crew member, Dave Holland, talks about the shout he responded to last year, just two hours before the clock struck midnight:

‘Myself and my wife had just arrived at a New Year’s Eve party when my pager suddenly sounded. I looked at her and she totally understood the decision I had to make – I needed to respond. So I left the party and, being without a car, knew that my only option was to flag down a lift from passers-by, which on New Year’s Eve seemed quite unlikely…

‘But by chance, amazingly, another member of our lifeboat crew, Mark Ellis, was also responding to the call and was driving to the station and spotted me walking on the pavement. I got into his car and we headed for the station, joining two other members of the crew preparing to launch the inshore lifeboat (ILB).

‘To be honest, I thought we’d be seeing in the New Year afloat on the lifeboat, but due to reports that the missing man had been located at his home address, we were stood down by the coastguard after just over an hour at sea. This was around 11.20pm which thankfully allowed us enough time to return to the station, recover the ILB and return to our New Year celebrations!

‘What I will always remember is getting back to the party with about 15 minutes to spare until the New Year and everyone at the party applauding me.’

Lyme Regis RNLI has a B class inshore lifeboat which is one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet. Dave, along with many other RNLI volunteers, will be on call throughout the entire festive season.

Lucy Ashton, Regional Engagement Manager at the RNLI, said: ‘Even at Christmas and New Year our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water.

‘But 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, at Christmas and all year round.’

Winter can be one of the most challenging times to be a lifeboat volunteer with shorter days and the worst weather conditions of the year. But the dedication and courage shown by RNLI lifesavers means that, when the pager goes off and the call to rescue comes in, they are ready and willing to leave their homes, often in the middle of the night, leaving their families behind.

The RNLI provides a lifesaving service using volunteers wherever possible, with voluntary donations supplying the funds needed to do so. To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, please visit: https://rnli.org/Xmas

The RNLI encourage those visiting coastal areas this Christmas to:

· Check the weather forecast, local tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks

· If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about and Float

· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Notes to editors

· The Christmas period refers to 24 December to 1 January

· Lifeboat crews are ready to launch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and Christmas is no exception. Over the last five years*, RNLI lifesavers have aided over 350 people, saved 18 lives, launched 619 times, and have spent over 840 hours at sea during the festive season

· *The five-year period is from 2017 to 2021 (inclusive)

· Please see attached photos of Dave Holland, Lyme Regis lifeboat crew member

· Interviews with Dave Holland are available upon request

· To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal please visit: https://rnli.org/Xmas

RNLI media contacts

For media enquiries please contact Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager on 07920 818807 or [email protected] or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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