Llandudno RNLI volunteers celebrate five years at the new lifeboat station
This week the Llandudno RNLI volunteers are looking back at five years of operational activities at their new Lifeboat Station on Llandudno Promenade.
The new station started life with great excitement around the arrival of the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat William F Yates. The Shannon lifeboat was designed to be launched and recovered from a beach via a new faster and safer launch and recovery system.
Like all of the 238 stations around the shores of UK and Ireland, Llandudno has seen its fair share of highs and lows during this time. The lifeboats Doctor Barbara Saunderson and William F Yates have launched to rescue over 160 times. The crews have come to the aid of over 220 casualties saving the lives of nine people. During these “shouts”, the crews have experienced many dramatic incidents, outcomes that have given immense satisfaction. Sadly, also moments of great tragedy and sorrow which will never be forgotten.One of the standout developments at the new station has certainly been the opportunity to “open our doors” to visitors and the community of Llandudno and beyond. The formation of a Lifeboats Visits Team in 2017 has enabled over 17,500 people to spend time in the new visitor’s centre and boathouse viewing the lifeboats. Meeting volunteers has enabled the public to learn about the day-to-day operation of the lifeboat station and the fascinating history of Llandudno Lifeboat since 1861.
Local schools and clubs have also been offered exciting opportunities to visit and learn about Llandudno Lifeboat and how they provide a lifesaving service for the public. The volunteers who run the sessions can also explain and share the RNLI key messages for keeping safe around water. Sessions are usually concluded with games that emphasise the important messages about water safety and the RNLI campaign to “Respect the Water.” Between May and July an unprecedented 1,109 children and young people were able to engage with the activities provided by the team.
Recruitment and intensive training of new volunteers has been an essential feature over the last five years. Willing and committed volunteers have signed up to engage in a variety of roles that assist the running of a successful lifeboat station. In particular, great emphasis has been placed upon the need for a team of shore crew, without whose skills lifeboats could not be launched. Indeed, no launch of Llandudno's all-weather lifeboat would be possible without the vital work of a highly trained shore crew, who are often working in cold, windy and dark conditions. Where Shannon lifeboats are launched from a Launch and Recovery System, a team of between eight and twelve people is required to launch and recover the lifeboats safely.
One of the most notable changes during this period saw the retirement of long serving former Station Mechanic Les Jones. He was replaced by Luke Heritage, a crew member who has been a volunteer since 2011.
Luke has vast experience with the Llandudno lifeboat. He is a helm for the inshore lifeboat, and a navigator and mechanic when serving on the all-weather Shannon lifeboat.
With the difficulties of the Covid Pandemic, Luke played a key and hugely appreciated role in helping to steer the crew and volunteers through all of the regulations. The RNLI operations were subjected to the myriad of changes during nearly two years of restrictions, which affected all aspects of the work of the volunteers.
Behind the scenes, the Fundraising and RNLI Shop volunteers have endeavoured to continue with the vital fundraising tasks which sustain the RNLI’s charitable activities. The shop in Llandudno remains open all year round and is hugely popular with the visitors coming here for their holidays and days out. The Fundraising Team run events throughout the year, these include concerts, quiz nights, open gardens, stalls on the Pier, Bingo afternoons to name but a few.
The Lifeboat Open Days, another wonderful opportunity introduced at the new station, have been hugely successful and loved by the public. The days have enabled the crew and volunteers to demonstrate how effective they can be in their work with the public.
In summing up, Jonathan Coe Lifeboat Press Officer, said: ‘So much happens in lifeboat stations around the country, the last five years in Llandudno has been an extremely busy time with so many highlights to recall. I continue to be incredibly impressed seeing a group of dedicated volunteers, with such diverse backgrounds and experiences, come together as one crew that will do everything in their power to fulfil the RNLI commitment to saving lives at sea.’
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Jonathan Coe, Llandudno Lifeboat Press Officer on 07910 861193. Alternatively contact Claire Elshaw, RNLI Media Officer on 01745 585162.
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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