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Two new helms at Largs RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Two RNLI volunteers have passed out as helms on the inshore lifeboat at Largs.

Orric and Andrew

RNLI/Janet Iqbal

Orric and Andrew

After intensive training and assessment, over several months, both at Largs and at the Lifeboat College in Poole, Michael Holcombe (Orric) and Andrew Malone passed out as volunteer helms on Tuesday 4 July 2023.

The RNLI describes the duty of a helm as: ‘to use utmost endeavours to safeguard and rescue the lives of those in danger, whilst having regard for the safety of their crew’.

Following the success of passing their final assessments, Orric and Andrew can now be responsible for taking command of the lifeboat and ensuring fellow volunteers remain safe while afloat.

Orric joined the volunteer crew at Largs around eight years ago after his wife spotted a recruitment advert in Largs library. As a Senior Park Ranger at Clyde Muirshiel he had planned to join Mountain Rescue but when he discovered this was not an option locally he was open to a different challenge. Not coming from a nautical background he has learned a huge amount during his time as volunteer crew.

Orric explained; ‘After being on crew for six years I decided to take on the challenge of working towards helm. Pushing me to gain more knowledge and understanding I have enjoyed the training and assessment required in becoming a helm. The training provided by the RNLI is enjoyable, very comprehensive and high quality.

‘I couldn’t have done it on my own, help and support from lifeboat management, the other volunteer helms at Largs and the rest of the volunteer crew at Largs has been essential in allowing me to progress to the role of helm.

‘I would also like to thank my family, being on the crew does have a huge impact on family life, and I could not have achieved this without the support they have given me’.

Andrew is the Director of a Yacht Charter Company, he joined the volunteer crew at Largs RNLI five years ago, in late July 2018. He decided three years ago to work towards becoming helm as he wanted to progress further with his RNLI training.

Andrew said; ‘It means a great deal to me to pass out as a helm at Largs RNLI. This has involved a huge amount of Continuous Professional Development which now enables me to be in charge of the lifeboat.

‘The extensive training provided by the RNLI has left me feeling ready and confident to take on the challenges of being helm. We have a great team of volunteer crew at Largs RNLI and I look forward to working with everyone in my new role.

‘I would like to thank the training and assessment team from the RNLI. They have been a fantastic source of knowledge and support throughout my training’.

During training and assessment Orric and Andrew have been supported by the rest of the volunteer crew based in Largs, and will join the other volunteer helms based at Largs RNLI, allowing the lifeboat to remain operational 24/7, 365 days of the year.

John Griffiths, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Largs RNLI, said: ‘I am very pleased after all of the hard work and commitment to training both Orric and Andrew have achieved the status of RNLI Helm. They have both worked extremely hard for this and thoroughly deserve it.

‘I would also like to thank all of the crew and the other helms at Largs Lifeboat Station who have supported both Orric and Andrew in their crew development’.

Notes to editors

RNLI media contacts

Claire McRae, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07738681546, [email protected]

Brian Rankin, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07810862468, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Andrew Malone

RNLI/Janet Iqbal

Andrew Malone
Michael Holcombe (Orric)

RNLI/Janet Iqbal

Michael Holcombe (Orric)
Orric and Andrew at the lifeboat station

RNLI/Janet Iqbal

Orric and Andrew at the lifeboat station

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.