Special delivery! Brighton volunteer helps deliver fellow crew member’s baby

Lifeboats News Release

A pregnant RNLI volunteer was surprised to see a friendly face after arriving at hospital to have her baby.

Emma, Julian and baby William on Brighton's lifeboat

RNLI/Hatti Mellor

Emma, Julian and baby William on Brighton's lifeboat

Emily Summerfield has been a crew member at Brighton’s lifeboat station since May 2019.

Fellow crew member Julian Cumberworth combines his voluntary role with a job as an anaesthetist at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Emily had arrived at hospital in November 2021 to have a planned c-section and was ‘reassured’ to see friendly face Julian, who she was happy to have as part of the team to deliver her baby.

Emily, who is a constable with Sussex Police, said: “I have such positive memories from that day, it was a great experience for myself and my family.

“Julian was my point of contact in a room full of people, it was great to have that level of trust in someone you already knew and his calm reassurance was just what was needed.

“Julian is so calm and collected he really led the room, and kept me informed as to what was happening throughout – it’s what makes him such a great team member in the RNLI and it helped in this situation too.

“Meeting my baby for the first time and finding out he was a boy was an amazing moment, I will never forget it and I’m so grateful to Julian and the whole team at the Royal Sussex for making sure we were well looked after.”

Emily had her baby – named William and weighing 8lbs 9oz – on November 1. William has already had his first trip to Brighton station to meet Julian.

Emily added: “I hope to be able to get back to being a crew member in the early summer as I’ve really missed it.

“My dad volunteered with Eastbourne RNLI as a launch authority for more than 20 years so it was something I’d always wanted to do – and now William has a special connection with lifeboats too.”

Emily’s husband Rob also works with Sussex Police and they have an older daughter three-year-old Maddie.

Julian, who has been an RNLI crew member for six years, added: “It was really nice to be involved in Emily and William’s story.

“It’s an honour to look back on being involved even in a small way, and it’s lovely to hear Emily’s positive memories of her special day.”

Emily and Julian both make up crew members as part of Brighton’s lifeboat station at the Marina. The crew provide a 24/7 on call search and rescue service along the Sussex coastline between Newhaven and Shoreham with the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Random Harvest.

*For more information please contact volunteer lifeboat press officer Hatti Mellor on 07724 801305, [email protected] or the regional media officer Paul Dunt on 07785 296252 [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.

Emma, Julian and baby William at Brighton lifeboat station

RNLI/Hatti Mellor

Emma, Julian and baby William at Brighton lifeboat station

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.

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