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Paul is ‘hot off the Press’ for Sunderland RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

An RNLI Lifeboat volunteer from Sunderland has successfully completed a specialist training course at the RNLI’s purpose-built training college.

Sunderland RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer during training course

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Sunderland RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer during training course

Paul Nicholson, Helmsman at Sunderland who has this year celebrated 20 years’ service on Sunderland’s crew, has recently returned from the RNLI Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset, with three day’s specialist media skills training under his belt.

The Lifeboat Press Officers' course at the RNLI's headquarters in Poole equips lifeboat volunteers to deal with today's fast moving multi-media world. On the three day course, lifeboat press officers learn about writing press releases and how to cope with TV interviews; traditional and web-based news; improving their camera skills and video editing. They are also provided with a wealth of information about the charity and its lifeboat and lifeguard services.

Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer for the North East and East, said: ‘RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officers (LPOs) are an integral part of each lifeboat station. They help to save lives at sea by raising awareness of the charity by promoting the activity of the station and its volunteer crew to the media.

‘Just like our lifeboat crews and lifeguards, LPOs receive extensive ongoing training. The specialist course in Poole is a vital part of this programme and provides a forum in which officers are able to hone and fresh their media skills.’

Each RNLI station has a voluntary lifeboat press officer (LPO) who maintains a good relationship with the lifeboat station and local press, radio and TV. It is the LPO’s responsibility to inform the media after a lifeboat is launched to a rescue and act as a link immediately after a service. They help to raise public awareness of the RNLI. They are supported by regional media relations teams and the HQ press office.

Paul, Emergency Planning Manager for Northern Powergrid said ‘Attending this course provided me with updated skills to help ensure the RNLI is well represented in the media using video footage and photographs as well as the traditional printed press.’

As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.


Notes to editors

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station is the oldest continually operation lifeboat in the United Kingdom. It was originally opened in 1800 before being adopted by the RNLI in 1865.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates its own website where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station has a profile on Twitter (SunderlandRNLI) and Facebook (RNLI Sunderland) where supporters can keep up to date with station specific activities and news.

• Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station operates two inshore type lifeboats: An Atlantic 85 8.3m inflatable capable of 35 knots and a D Class (IB-1) 4.5m inflatable capable of 25 knots.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone:

Paul Nicholson, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer on 07957 494 077 or email - or

Andy McGill, Sunderland RNLI Press Officer (Deputy) on 07980 089 622 or email -

As an alternative please contact RNLI Headquarters Public Relations on 01202 336000.

Paul undertaking television interview training

RNLI/Paul Nicholson

Paul undertaking television interview training

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, Carrybridge 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland