Key donor visits RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat Station to see impact of crew training
Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station recently welcomed a key donor to see how their funding is helping to deliver first class training to volunteers.
The Lawson Trust, set up by the late Tonbridge-based businessman Raymond Lawson and his wife Blanche, has been supporting the volunteers at Dungeness lifeboat station throughout 2017. The Trustees chose to specifically focus on the crew’s essential training as a way to improve their capability, keep them safe while performing their search and rescue operations and to provide them with skills that are valuable to both themselves and the wider Dungeness community.
Trustees Mike Norrie and Sarah Hill, together with Hayley Corker, grants officer from the Lawson Trust, spent a rather chilly day at the station being informed how their donation has impacted on the crew during the last year. They heard first-hand from crew members, including the station Coxswain Stuart Adams who is also Lifeboat Training Coordinator, about how fundamental this training is for all of them, regardless of experience. ‘Our crew come from all walks of life,’ explains Stuart. ‘Some people come with no experience at all. We have a postman, fishmonger and two lorry drivers.’
Crew members progress through competence-based training, which is tailored to the individual and according to the needs of the station. Last year Jason Adams completed his mechanic training plan and Steve Cardew his Coxswain development plan, meaning that he can now deputise for Stuart. This is important for succession planning. Additional units include navigation, health and safety, fire safety and safeguarding, amongst others.
And the training continues on station as the RNLI’s Mobile Training Unit provided additional crew training in 2017, including a level 1 Shannon mechanics training course and a casualty care refresher course. Younger crew member and welder, Dan Head, who joined the crew aged just 17 and is training to be a mechanic, said of his training ‘I’m now thinking ahead on a rescue...I’ve learnt it’s important to keep calm.’
Senior RNLI staff and representatives of the Brenchley, Matfield, Horsmonden and Lamberhurst RNLI Branch, including its Chairman Chris Rhys-Jones, were also present at the visit. The trip wound up with a tour of the station and its Shannon-class all weather lifeboat and the bespoke launch and recovery vehicle it uses, which was enjoyed by all.
As Mike Norrie later commented “We had a wonderful visit and came away overawed by the fantastic, selfless and brave efforts put in by all involved.”
A plaque has been put up in the Lifeboat station recognising the generosity of the Lawson Trust CIO.
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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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