First shout for 18-year-old Grace from Teddington RNLI
On Sunday morning (3 March), Teddington RNLI crew were called out to assist a grounded cabin cruiser.
Eighteen-year-old volunteer crew member, Grace Blackshaw, was on the lifeboat for the very first time alongside Helm John Barker and crew member Andy Bell.
Grace first came to the station in 2016 for her Silver Duke of Edinburgh volunteering and enjoyed it so much she became hooked on lifeboats and begun training as soon she turned 17 years of age.
On launching to her first shout, Grace said:
‘I was a bit nervous when I ran into the crew room and Jon said ‘come on Grace – get changed, you can come with us’. Any nerves quickly changed into excitement.
‘Yes, we didn’t save any lives, but I was really struck by the way Jon and the crew were so determined to help the people on the casualty vessel – it mattered to Jon that we did as much as we could to be as helpful as possible. It was amazing to start putting my training to use and I loved really feeling part of the action.’
The lifeboat crew were able to assist the 35-foot cabin cruiser which was grounded near the riverbank in Thames Ditton by pulling it free.
Grace says she has learnt so much through the training she’s received:
‘I found it scary walking into the crew room at first, here were all these adults talking about things I didn’t understand. But they were really friendly and helpful so it has become a lot easier.
‘I have learnt so much, from technical things such as tying a bowline and a fisherman’s bend, to so many transferable skills. Being able to work in a team, apply your knowledge in unfamiliar situations and stay calm under pressure.’
Grace has chosen to study engineering at Cambridge University and is really positive about going into an industry which has historically been male dominated.
‘I can’t decide if it’s just because I’ve been oblivious or because I’m simply too stubborn to take no for an answer, but I’ve never felt like I couldn’t be an engineer simply because I was a girl.’
Grace is one of six women on the crew at Teddington RNLI who make an incredible contribution to saving lives at sea.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, Regional Media Officer, on 07795127351 or Oliver_Wrynne-Simpson@rnli.org.uk
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 over 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.