Dorset volunteer RNLI lifeguard proves that age is just a number
Volunteer RNLI lifeguard and father of two West Dorset RNLI lifeguards hopes to inspire others to join the charity.
This year Malcolm Greenslade (63) spent his first summer season volunteering as an RNLI lifeguard in Lyme Regis. Malcolm is no stranger to the beach as he works day to day as an open water swimming coach, running a business called Lyme Bay Swimming. His role consists of helping both individuals and groups to improve their swimming skills, fitness and beach safety knowledge.
His transferable skills from his role with Swim England, as well as his two children Ben and Abi Greenslade both working as RNLI lifeguards in Lyme Regis led to Malcolm deciding to complete a Surf Lifeguard course in April. This qualified and inspired Malcolm to volunteer for the RNLI.
‘The RNLI is a great organisation and charity to be involved with. I’ve spent all my life in and around the sea, so the volunteer lifeguard role was an easy fit for me.
‘I volunteer when I’m able and when the beaches are especially busy.’
Malcolm’s training and experience gained through the RNLI meant that he was equipped to spot and deal with what could have been a tragic incident. On Monday 4 September at around 6pm, Malcolm was on Monmouth Beach, near Lyme Regis following an evening swim. It was a pleasant evening with a light easterly wind, with a small constant wave pattern rolling into shore.
Malcolm noticed a gentleman lying on his back in the shallows, which at first glance looked as if he was also relaxing after a swim. However, Malcolm observed waves roll the gentleman onto his side and then onto his back. The gentleman’s head was submerged as he struggled to get to his feet.
Malcolm immediately made his way to his assistance. On arrival, it was clear that the gentleman was struggling due to exhaustion and being cold. Malcolm managed to lift the gentleman back to his feet. Two members of the public spotted them in the water and joined them to assist Malcolm in guiding the gentleman back to shore across the large pebbles.
The gentleman’s wife noticed the group and made her way to them with a towel. Once in his wife’s care, the gentleman confirmed that he had not inhaled any water but that he thought he had swallowed some. Malcolm informed the couple of the risk of secondary drowning, and to seek medical assistance should his condition deteriorate.
Following the incident, Malcolm said:
‘It was an unexpected turn for my Monday evening at the beach. At first, I thought the gentleman was just relaxing in the shallows, but it quickly became clear that he was in distress.
‘I’m really glad that through volunteering as a lifeguard for the RNLI, I have the skills and knowledge that were needed to help the gentleman.
‘I’m very proud that both of my children work as RNLI lifeguards, it’s a pleasure to volunteer alongside them.
‘I hope that people realise that age is just a number when it comes to lifeguarding. If you’re fit and able, there’s no reason not to get involved.’
Ahead of RNLI lifeguard recruitment in 2024, the RNLI would like to remind the public that lifeguarding is for everyone. Lifeguard courses will be running during the half term week from 23-28 October 2023 at Weymouth Surf Lifesaving Club and from 8-13 April 2024 at Lyme Regis Lifeboat Station.
For anyone looking for more information on the opportunities to join the lifeguard team in Dorset please contact Alice Higgins Lead Lifeguard Supervisor at [email protected].
Notes to editors
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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