Keeping it in the family - Ilfracombe RNLI's latest qualified crew

Lifeboats News Release

Following her final assessment this week, Sophie Braund has been passed out as a fully qualified lifeboat crew member at Ilfracombe RNLI.

Passing her final assessment means that Sophie Braund, 21, is now a fully qualified crew member of Ilfracombe's all-weather lifeboat (ALB). The process of qualification is not a fast one: Sophie has been with RNLI Ilfracombe as a volunteer, first on the shore and then as a trainee on the lifeboats, since she was 18.

Asked why she became a volunteer, Sophie is matter-of-fact: 'Loads of my family are on the lifeboats so I have grown up with it. It is second nature to me. My uncle David Clemence was coxswain; my uncle Derek was tractor driver; my nan was Lifeboat Operations Manager; my granddad was crew; my boyfriend is helm and his dad is coxswain! I always knew I would volunteer too!

'I am pleased to have been passed out but the main difference really is that I will be able to go out on more shouts. The adrenaline rush when you know there is a rescue to do is just the same on the boat no matter how well qualified you are.'

Sophie is, of course, no stranger to boats, or to Ilfracombe Harbour, as she is also one of the skippers on the ribs of Sea Safari where she has worked since she was fifteen.

Station Mechanic Leigh Hanks said: 'We are all very proud of Sophie and what she has achieved in her three years with us here at Ilfracombe. We are always looking for volunteer crew members, especially those who live locally and have availability during the days.'

To find out more about volunteering, visit rnli.org/support-us/volunteer

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Gudrun Limbrick, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Ilfracombe RNLI, on 07713430327 or [email protected]


About RNLI Ilfracombe

There has been a lifeboat in Ilfracombe Harbour for nearly 200 years. We currently have 49 volunteers, one paid member of staff and two lifeboats – the small, manoeuvrable ILB (inshore lifeboat) named The Deborah Brown II and the large, self-righting ALB (all-weather lifeboat) called The Barry and Peggy High Foundation. Our current lifeboat house was opened in 1996. We provide a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week search and rescue service.


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 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 142,200 lives.


RNLI/Gudrun Limbrick

Sophie Braund, ALB Crew Member

RNLI/Gudrun Limbrick

The ALB being launched at Ilfracombe Harbour

RNLI/Gudrun Limbrick

Sophie Braund, ALB Crew Member, in front of the ALB

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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