Mudeford RNLI volunteer swims from Bournemouth to Boscombe to help save lives
RNLI volunteers usually take to the water to rescue people – but when Mudeford RNLI’s medical advisor Lexi Obee-Kendall entered the waves recently it was to save lives in a different way – by highlighting the importance of CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resusitation).
Lexi and five of her friends were inspired to take part in the annual Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier swim, a distance of 2.2km, following an incident on a nearby beach in which her mother almost lost her life.
Lexi’s mother, who has a heart condition, was walking on Barton-on-Sea beach, near New Milton, last March when she suffered a cardiac arrest. There was no-one about who could step in to help.
Fortunately, due to her known heart condition, her mother has an implantable defibrillator (about the size of a 50p coin) attached to her heart. The defibrillator restarted her heart and saved her life. Although she has taken some time to recuperate, Lexi’s mother is now back to swimming every day.
Lexi and five other school mums, who call themselves the Avon Mermaids, took part in the swim on Sunday 10 July. The purpose of the swim was two-fold – to raise money for a heart charity – and also to promote the training and use of CPR – which could save a life.
To support her, Lexi has asked the volunteer crew at Mudeford to share CPR training advice (below) with as many people as possible and requests that everyone completes the 15 minute training so that more people are equipped to save someone’s life.
Lexi said: ‘I would encourage as many people as possible to learn how to do CPR – you can literally be the difference between life and death! It is shocking to think that I could so easily have lost my mum that day. If the defibrillator had not worked as it should, that would have been it. This has made me even more aware that everyone should know what to do in an emergency’.
A spokesperson for Mudeford RNLI stated: ‘There is a defibrillator at the lifeboat station. It may also be helpful to know that emergencies on the beach or on pathways to the beach, fall under HM Coastguard. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard who will be best placed to decide what support or service is required.’
‘Well done Lexi and the rest of the Avon Mermaids. What an achievement and what a great way to raise awareness’!
In addition to Lexi’s volunteer role as medical advisor, she is also a qualified member of the shore crew team and is training to be Mudeford’s first female tractor driver.
The Avon Mermaids swim several mornings each week at Boscombe Beach.
These swims formed the basis of their training for the event. In the winter, without wetsuits, they swam for approximately 20 minutes. However, since the weather and daylight has improved, they have been swimming for up to an hour each time, getting into shape for this challenge. The Mermaids are still waiting for their official time for the Pier to Pier, but believe it is a little over an hour.
Lexi is confident that this they will continue this exercise as they really enjoy starting their day this way. She is keen to emphasise that the group follow the RNLI open water swimming guidance, paying particular attention to the tides and currents.
RNLI Media contacts
· Louise Adams, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Mudeford RNLI.
· Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 [email protected]
· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at 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 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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