Dedicated Portishead RNLI Crew Promoted

Lifeboats News Release

Portishead RNLI are proud to announce that three more of their crew volunteers have been promoted. Thanks to their commitment to training and passion to support their community. Jake Bacon and Paul Weston have become Helms and Lu Shephard a fully qualified Crew member.

Left to right, Jake Bacon - Helm, Lu Shephard - Crew, Paul Weston - Helm.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Left to right, Jake Bacon - Helm, Lu Shephard - Crew, Paul Weston - Helm.

It can take years to achieve Helm and Crew status. There are many competancies that need to be completed by each volunteer in order for them to reach the required standard of safely go to sea and rescue those in distress.

A Helm whilst at sea is responsible for, not only the lifeboat but also the crew on board once launched on service when the pagers go, or for a training session. The crew train twice a week in Portishead and will go out in all weathers in preparation for when the community and vital rescue services such as the HM Coastguard, Fire Service and Police need them in support.

Paul Weston, who is a Product Manager for a Gaming Company in his day job said ‘I am proud to have come through such rigorous and robust training and assessment to be passed out as a Helm. It has taken a lot of time and effort from everyone at the station supporting me to get to this point. It is a great responsibility being in charge of the lifeboat and crew, we have a fantastic team here at Portishead.’

Lu Shephard, one of the six women who volunteer on the Crew in Portishead, is also a Music Teacher and Musician, she said ‘Being part of the RNLI family has been a lifeline for me especially in the past couple of years. Keeping the study and training going during the pandemic has been challenging for everyone but the support from the training team, the station family and the schools I work for has been amazing. Of course, none of this would be possible without the love and patience of my own family, I owe them everything.’

Jake Bacon who is a College Lecturer by day said ‘I was really proud to have passed my Helm assessment in the Summer. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work over the past couple of years. I hope to do as good a job as the excellent Helms we already have at Portishead. Thank you to everyone at the station who supported me with my Helm development training. It is really great to be part of such a fantastic team.’

Dave Slack, Lifeboat Operations Manager said ‘For Lu, this is a significant achievement indeed. She quite rightly deserves to feel very proud of completing her training after a number of years of hard work, dedication and commitment.’

‘Like Lu, Paul and Jake have spent years qualifying as ILB (Inshore Lifeboat) crew, but they have since dedicated even more time in order to qualify as RNLI Helms. The standards set by the RNLI are second to none, and to achieve Helm status requires some of the toughest training imaginable.’

Just as Jake passed out as Helm, he was immediately sent out on his first call. He was tasked along with his crew to a motor vessel which had run aground in the River Avon. After freeing the vessel, another call came through immediately saying that it was believed that a swimmer was in trouble further up the River Avon. After arriving on scene within minutes of the Coastguards call they were able to confirm that the swimmer was safe and well. A busy day for Jake as his first Helm call out with 2 rescues already logged. With Paul now joining Jake as Helm, Lu as crew, all 3 volunteers are now ready to save lives when the pager sounds, what ever the weather, day or night, 365 days of the year.

2021 ended with the RNLI in Portishead being called out on 41 occasions, which meant they were able to assist a total of 52 people, save 1 life and also assisted 2 four legged friends. Another busy year for the volunteers. A big thank you to all of our community who support us, without you we couldn’t #SaveLivesAtSea

Notes to editors

Images are all ©PortisheadRNLI

1 Left to right, Jake Bacon - Helm, Lu Shephard - Crew, Paul Weston - Helm.

2 Lu Shephard

3 Paul Weston

4 Jake Bacon

5 My Lady Anne launching on service, the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat based at Portishead RNLI

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995, [email protected], Scott Eggins volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07539 270063, [email protected] or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

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.

Lu Shephard, new crew member

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Lu Shephard, new crew member
Paul Weston, new Helm

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Paul Weston, new Helm
Jake Bacon, new Helm

Cedar Creates

Jake Bacon, new Helm
My Lady Anne launching on service at Portishead

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

My Lady Anne launching on service at Portishead

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.