Rhyl RNLI celebrate present and future female crew on International Women's Day
For generations, women have saved lives, launched lifeboats, and raised millions to help fund the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – and this is certainly true at RNLI Rhyl.
54 years since the first woman qualified as an RNLI crew member, women make up around 12.3% of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew, a figure which is steadily growing.
At RNLI Rhyl there are currently two female crew members. Tara Eliott has been on the crew for an amazing 14 years and last year she even married a fellow Rhyl crew member Sam Hughes.
In the last year, Tara has been joined on the crew by Rosa Tomassi-Bella. Rosa relocated to Rhyl from London and immediately wanted to sign up to be crew after seeing the team in action whilst out walking in Rhyl.
Rosa said: ‘I felt compelled to do my bit. As soon as I saw the crew position advertised I went for it. Not only do I want to do my part to help save lives at sea, I saw an opportunity to be part of a fantastic team in the community in which I live.'
And the future for women crew is safe in Rhyl, Tara and Rosa will soon hopefully be joined by Holly McDivitt. Currently 16 years old, she’ll be waiting for the next crew recruitment opportunity. Until she’s old enough to join the crew, Holly volunteers as much as she can in Rhyl’s shop, helping to raise crucial money that’ll keep her future crew mates save lives at sea.
Holly said: ‘I have wanted to join the crew since watching my brother go out on shouts. I always thought crew was for boys but after speaking to Tara and she said that girls can join too there is nothing stopping me, that made me want to join. My mum and my nan have always made me believe that being a girl should never stop me doing what I really want to and can do anything I put my mind to. I can’t wait to join the crew, I’m counting down the days!’
Sue Kingswood, RNLI Inclusion and Diversity Manager said: ‘Creating an inclusive culture which supports diversity is key to our long-term sustainability. So, we’re working hard to make sure that a wide range of people see the RNLI as a charity where they’re welcome as volunteers, supporters or staff.
‘As we approach our 200th anniversary, women are now more evident in operational search and rescue (SAR) roles throughout the RNLI than they have ever been before. They are also better represented across operational management and in SAR training roles, which is great to see.
‘However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the representation we would like, not only where women are concerned, but across a much broader spectrum of diversity too.’
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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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