Windfarm Vessel Crew Praised for Fraserburgh Lifeboat Donation
Wind Turbine Technician Chay Cumming came off the windfarm vessel Esvagt Alba after a two week work trip early in the morning of 9 February 2022, and put on his RNLI lifeboat gear so he could accept a donation from his Alba crew mates on behalf of Fraserburgh Lifeboat
Chay is a volunteer mechanic with Fraserburgh Lifeboat when he is at home, first joining the RNLI as soon as he could when he was eighteen. He had a family connection with the RNLI, his great grandfather had been the Fraserburgh Lifeboat coxswain from 1945 to 1953.
The Esvagt Alba service operations vessel, is the base for the operation and maintenance of the Moray East Offshore Wind farm off the coast of Scotland and since it started working on the windfarm last July it comes into Fraserburgh every second Wednesday for a crew change.
The Alba berths on the North Pier just yards from where Fraserburgh Lifeboat is moored, and the Alba crew, all Vestas personnel, walk past the lifeboat station every crew change on their way to and from the Moray East Windfarm building, which is just across the road from the Fraserburgh RNLI station.
Chay and the rest of the Vestas Moray East Blue Shift crew took part in “Movember”, growing moustaches in the month of November for charity.
And the charity they chose was Fraserburgh Lifeboat!
“One of the lads brought it up” said Chay “It just came up in a conversation”
“Does anyone fancy doing “Movember?” somebody said”
“Aye we’ll just do it for a local charity because we’re working out of Fraserburgh” somebody else suggested and everyone got on board with it .
When they were considering which charity to support Chay suggested Fraserburgh Lifeboat and everyone agreed and got behind the idea.
“Originally we set ourselves a target of trying to raise £500 for Fraserburgh Lifeboat but once everyone chipped in £20 each we passed that target before we’d even started.” said Chay
“We set up a just giving page and with everything we managed to hit the £3000 mark, which we are all really pleased with.
The Alba crew are all well aware of the kind of work Fraserburgh Lifeboat does after seeing them in action on two occasions during the summer.
They were in port during a crew change when an emergency device was activated nearby and they all saw how thoroughly and professionally the lifeboat crew had dealt with that situation.
A couple of trips later the Alba was back in port again and the boys were on deck when a message on Chay’s phone told him that the lifeboat pagers had just gone off.
(He’d switched off his own pager earlier as he was just at the start of a two week trip)
He told his shipmates that the lifeboat had just been paged and to see how long it was before it was launched.
Everyone was impressed they saw the lifeboat being launched unbelievably quickly and passing the Alba only seven or eight minutes after being paged and heading out to sea on service.
The Vestas personnel all made very positive comments and a few weeks later when it was suggested that Fraserburgh Lifeboat be the nominated charity for their “Movember” charity efforts everyone wholeheartedly agreed.
“We can’t thank the lads of the Vestas Moray East Blue Shift enough” said Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain Vic Sutherland “for raising the magnificent sum of £3000 on our behalf, it’s a fantastic gesture and very much appreciated by everyone at Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station. All the money they raised goes towards helping us save lives at sea.”
By coincidence Chay accepted the cheque from shift supervisor Lewis Humphreys on the 69th anniversary of the 1953 Fraserburgh Lifeboat disaster when his own great grandfather had been the coxswain.
Coxswain Andrew Noble Ritchie was drowned along with five other lifeboat crewmen when the Fraserburgh Lifeboat “John and Charles Kennedy” capsized while on service on the 9th of February 1953.
Their names are remembered with the names of the other Fraserburgh Lifeboat crew men who lost their lives in the other lifeboat disasters, in 1919 and 1970 on the plaque of the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Memorial statue.
The memorial commemorates the sacrifice of the thirteen Fraserburgh lifeboatmen who have lost their lives on service and serves as a constant reminder of the dangers faced by all lifeboat crews.
The main picture shows a group of the fundraisers who were available for the photo. Some of the others who contributed so generously were on a different rotation, and others weren’t available at the time.
Chay is shown accepting the cheque on behalf of Fraserburgh Lifeboat from shift supervisor Lewis Humphreys with other Wind Turbine Technicians Andrew Cruikshank, Fraser Stevenson, Ewan Brady, Miles Fairclough, Glen McMurchy, Chris Scott, Keiran Duff and Shaun Mitchell, Deputy Shift Supervisor looking on.
They are alongside the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Memorial Statue and in the background you can see the current Fraserburgh Lifeboat, and the huge windfarm vessel Esvagt Alba in the berth behind.
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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