New Year’s Day victory for New Brighton RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The Merseyside station’s traditional tug of war contest against the Mersey Divers Sub Aqua Club – Branch 5 ended in a 2-0 victory to the RNLI team.

New Brighton RNLI's volunteer tug of war team pose on the beach alongside their opponents from Mersey Diver's Club. The Mayor presents the trophy to one of the RNLI crew. Fists and arms are raised in good-spirited celebration. Striking red cranes are visible across the river in the background.

Vince Clegg

New Brighton RNLI celebrate with Mersey Diver's Club, the Mayor and Mayoress

It was a pleasant, sunny New Year’s Day on the Wirral this year for the traditional tug of war contest between a local diving club and New Brighton RNLI. This 2023 matchup marks the fourth time that the two teams have faced off against one another, with New Brighton’s volunteer crew having already claimed victory in the previous three contests.

The event has been unable to go ahead for the last two years due to restrictions brought about by Covid-19. So it was no surprise to see hundreds of people come along to cheer and shout their support as the two teams battled hard against one another.

In a best-of-three contest presided over by the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Jeff Green, both teams displayed strength and determination. New Brighton RNLI were the eventual victors, taking two of the three rounds. They claimed the newly named Bob Grant Memorial Trophy, in memory of the late Captain Robert Grant, a valued member of New Brighton RNLI for many years.

Whilst the friendly competition formed the centrepiece of the day, the real winners were all those that came to show their support and donated to New Brighton RNLI’s continued efforts to save lives at sea. The tug of war event alone raised over £1000, with a further £400 coming from local open-water swimming group The Chilly Dippers, who came down in large numbers to support the event.

Ian Thornton, Lifeboat Operations Manager at New Brighton RNLI, said:

‘It’s a great feeling to finally be able to have this event again. That feeling was felt throughout the community and showed in how many people came out to support the day and how generously they donated. I’d like to offer a special thanks to the Mersey Divers club for being such brilliant sports and providing stellar opposition, and of course to all our crew who made the day such a success, from the tug of war team to the shop volunteers, who put on an excellent array of much-needed refreshments at the boathouse afterwards!’

Eleanor O’Neill, Treasurer for New Brighton RNLI, added:

'This was a great event for all involved, but I'd like to extend a special thanks to all those friends, family and community members that volunteered their time to collect donations in buckets on the day, ensuring we could make the most of this memorable event. Hopefully we will see you all again for the same next year!'

Notes to Editors:

New Brighton RNLI was established in 1863 in the bustling seaside resort of New Brighton, on the north east corner of the Wirral peninsula. They cover the River Mersey and out into the Irish Sea.

The station is home to a B-class Atlantic 85 lifeboat, one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet. The crews at New Brighton have been presented with a remarkable 48 awards for gallantry to date.

RNLI Media Contacts

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The New Brighton RNLI tug of war team, all kitted out in blue RNLI guernsey jumpers, blue jeans and sturdy boots, pull in time on the rope. The effort can be seen in the leaned stance and strained faces of all. Crowds watch on from the midground, whilst the edge of Fort Perch Rock is visible in the background.

Vince Clegg

New Brighton RNLI battle hard for victory
The tug of war team from Mersey Diver's Club, all kitted out for the winter cold in varied attire, strain and lean back, putting all their effort into pulling on the rope. In the midground, crowds watch on, in the background Fort Perch Rock is visible.

Vince Clegg

Mersey Diver's giving their all
A drone photograph shows an expanse of beach, littered with public, crew and competitors. Shadows are cast by everybody from the low winter sun. Near the top of the frame, the New Brighton lifeboat, tractor and carriage can be seen.

Geoff Oldfield (Mersey Images)

Aerial view of New Year's Day tug of war setting
A drone photo shows beach in the foreground, with tug of war pitch marked out. Competitors and spectators line the barriers. New Brighton lifeboat, tractor and carriage can be seen on the beach to the right of the frame. On the left of the frame is a car park and beyond that, in the background, the Marine Lake.

Geoff Oldfield

Tug of war pitch from above
Stormy Stan stands prominently to the left of the frame, entertaining gathered spectators to the right of the frame, outside New Brighton RNLI boathouse.

Geoff Oldfield

Stormy Stan entertains spectators

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