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South African lifeboat volunteer visits Porthdinllaen RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Porthdinllaen RNLI lifeboat station welcomed a volunteer from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) at Jeffries Bay, South Africa, to the station.

Kenyon Clegg, who emigrated with his family from Liverpool to South Africa when he was 10 years old, got in contact with the station after visiting the station website and after several email exchanges he confirmed he and his wife Bev had booked a vacation in the United Kingdom and a visit to Porthdinllaen was on the agenda.
 
An invitation was given for Mr & Mrs Clegg to visit the station for a tour and see the lifeboat being put through its paces. 
 
Kenyon and Bev paid a visit to the station on the crew exercise night on Wednesday (13 July) and was given a tour of the station's Tamar Class RNLI  lifeboat and the new boathouse by Coswain Mike Davies. After seeing  the crew go through various exercises on board the John D Spicer, Kenyon returned to the boathouse to give a talk and show videos of the work of the NSRI to the Porthdinllaen volunteer crew.
 
Kenyon explained that as a child, he had spent many a happy summer holiday on the beach at Morfa Nefyn as his grandmother was born and raised in the area. He said one of his childhood dreams was to be a lifeboat crew member, this was spurred on after watching on several occasions the station lifeboat at that time, the Watson class lifeboat the Charles Henry Ashley, launch down the slipway on an emergency call out.
 
It wasn't until five years ago that Kenyon was able to achieve his ambition when he saw a local advert for volunteers for the local Sea Rescue team at Jeffreys Bay, known as Station 37 within the NSRI . He enrolled with the station and has carried out several shore based  duties to assist the crew in their lifesaving duties including manning the radios at the station. Kenyon went on to explain that Jeffreys Bay is a town of approximately 30,000 in population and lies within the Eastern Cape in South Africa and is approximately 40 miles South West of Port Elizabeth.
 
The area is well known worldwide as a top surfing location with its challenging surf, and hosts every July the Super Tubes, which attracts competitors from all over the world. Another interesting point was that the surrounding sea is also known to be frequently visited by Great White Sharks.
 
Kenyon went on to explain, much to the delight of Porthdinllaen lifeboat crew, the similarities in the duties of the NSRI to the RNLI of which both are charities which depend on public donations.  The NRSI consist of 37 stations in total, of which 35 lie on the coast, with two based inland. Their lifeboats are manned by over 1000 volunteers and that Jeffries Bay are equipped with three different craft, consisting of a 5.5m rigid inflatable, a 4.5m inflatable and a jet-ski.
 
A letter was read from Station Commander, Rieghard Janse Van Rensburg, thanking the Porthdinllaen Ccew for welcoming Kenyon to the station and various articles charting the history of the NSRI were handed over to Ken Fitspatrick, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Porthdinllaen.
 
In return, Ken Fitspatrick presented Kenyon with a book charting the 150 year history of the Porthdinllaen to be presented on his return to the Station 37 at Jeffreys Bay.
 
Ken said: ‘It was pleasure to welcome Kenyon and his wife to our station, the crew were thoroughly enjoyed the speech given. We all noticed the similarities of the two services, with the dedication of the crews towards their voluntary work. The crew all agreed though that one thing we do not have in common is that we do not have any Great White Sharks around Porthdinllaen.'
 
Kenyon added:  ‘I wish to thank all at Porthdinllaen for the welcome me and wife received on our visit, we were most impressed with the lifeboat and station, it definitely lies within one of the most  beautiful unspoilt part of Wales.
 
'It has definitely been the highlight of our vacation to visit Porthdinllaen. I`ll be the envy of my colleagues at Jeffreys Bay when I show them the pictures of the John D Spicer and the impressive boathouse.'
 
Media contacts:
 
For more information please contact Dylan Thomas, Porthdinllaen RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07747 600019 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on chris_cousens@rnli.org.uk.
 
 

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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