Walmer RNLI welcomes back visitors for Open Day 2022

Lifeboats News Release

For the first time since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Walmer volunteers were able to welcome the public back to the station on Sunday, 17 July.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

Hundreds of people braved the heat and turned out in force to meet volunteers and take advantage of attractions. Local singers, The Kellet Gut Shantymen entertained the crowds with their sea shanties and visitors were able to enjoy Paul Parfitt’s detailed scale models of lifeboats and search and rescue helicopters from around the UK. Representatives of the South-East Coast Ambulance Service, crewed by two Walmer lifeboat volunteers, and a Kent Fire and Rescue appliance with a former Walmer helm on board provided an opportunity to view emergency vehicles.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue Service, HM Coastguard and a lifejacket checking service were also on hand to explain their work and provide advice as were the RNLI’s face-to-face fundraising team along with our highly successful Betty’s Pots Fundraiser.

The station shop celebrated record takings for the day raising in excess of £1000 and the fundraising buckets were well supported.

Refreshments were provided by a coffee and cake stall staffed by Walmer volunteers and Sid’s Ice Cream and Donut truck. Children were entertained with stone decorating and colouring sessions in the boathall.

Other attractions included a history of the Walmer lifeboat stations, a ‘welly wanging’ competition and an opportunity to throw wet sponges at crew members held in stocks.

A viewing platform had been set up to enable visitors to look inside our Atlantic 85 lifeboat Donald McLauchlan, who also had opportunities to have their photo taken in our D Class lifeboat Duggie Rodbard II.

The afternoon culminated in an afloat display, minutely planned by Walmer helms Lee Waddon and Dan Sinclair, highlighting the rescue work undertaken by RNLI crews around the UK and Ireland on a daily basis. These included a person in the water and drifting on an inflatable unicorn, a simulated fire and people overboard from a rhib (rigid hulled inflatable boat), a rescue from an upturned dinghy and two people taken from the water, one who had fallen from a paddleboard and the other who had tried to rescue him suffering a capsize in a kayak. These ‘casualties’ were assisted ashore by members of the Deal Coastguard Rescue team.

A news item about coastal safety broadcast from Deal on Good Morning Britain, repeated on Meridian News on Monday, also included footage of the D Class lifeboat picking up a casualty from the water

Walmer Lifeboat Chairman Roger Blown in a message of thanks to all the volunteers who had given up their time to make the day such a success said ‘Together we raised the profile of Walmer lifeboat and the RNLI in general. The lifeboats, the crews, the fundraisers and all of our supporters did us proud. The afloat display of the boats, paddle boards, kayaks and of course the unicorn had the crowds on the beach cheering and applauding all of those who took part. A special thanks to the team who organised and planned the event and the display.’

Notes to editors

Walmer lifeboat station was established in 1856.

It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.

Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry

To find out more about Walmer lifeboat station go to https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/walmer-lifeboat-station

Photo 1 Donald McLauchlan and Duggie Rodbard II nosin on the beach.

Photo 2 Stormy Stan chauffeured around the displays

Photo 3 Walmer volunteers before the Open Day.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Winslade, Lifeboat Press Officer, Walmer Lifeboat Station on 01304 374475 or 07906 623037 [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

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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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.