Byline: RNLI lifeboats from Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven assisted East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in its efforts to tackle a devastating fire on Eastbourne pier which threatened to destroy the historic structure.
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At 3.48pm on Wednesday 30 June both Eastbourne lifeboats were requested to attend the evacuation of Eastbourne pier when fire was discovered behind panelling at the rear of the amusement hall.

Satisfied that all members of the public had been safely led away, attention was shifted to assisting fire-fighters in their operation to tackle the flames which rapidly threatened to spread out of control.

Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) collected fire pumps and fire-fighters from the beach and ferried them to Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) where they were set up at the seaward end of the pier in a desperate bid to save the majority of the structure.

Lifeboats from the flank stations of Hastings and Newhaven were later tasked to assist in the operation that saved most of the seaward end of the pier. 

Bob Jeffery, Deputy Launch Authority from the RNLI’s Eastbourne lifeboat station, said: ‘The fire started when the tide was relatively high which meant the lifeboats could enable fire-fighters to tackle the blaze at close quarters, but on a falling tide it was critical that the fire was brought under control before the lifeboats were forced to retire due to lack of water in which to manoeuvre.’

Fire-fighters were still on scene next morning damping down the remains of what was the ballroom in days gone by. Much praise has been heaped on the volunteer RNLI crewmen who have been credited with helping to save much of Eastbourne’s historic Victorian structure.         


Media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
  • James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / 
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 


Byline: 3 callouts for the Inshore lifeboat, and 1 for the All-weather lifeboat
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The crew of Rhyl’s lifeboats thought that the midweek lull would give them some respite from the many callouts they have had in the last week. This, however, was not to be.

The Inshore lifeboat had 3 callouts, and the All-weather lifeboat 1 callout, from  children in difficulty in the water off Prestatyn; to a Jetskier broken down, and finally a windsurfer 1 mile out at Llandulas with a broken sail. Further details can be found on  under 30/7/2014. The last callout was the first command for deputy 2nd Coxswain Andrew Wilde, some 7 miles west of the station.

It is hoped that videos of our latest rescues will be available by 31/7/2014. Details also available on our twitter and facebook sites @rhyllifeboat.




Byline: On Saturday 26th July 2014 about 250 small ships, yachts, working boats and clippers sailed up the River Clyde from Greenock to Glasgow as part of the city’s Commonwealth Games celebrations.
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They were accompanied by Helensburgh RNLI Lifeboat.  They set off from Greenock and arrived at Pacific Quay to be greeted by crowds along the shoreline.  The flotilla, the largest ever seen on the Clyde, was organised by the Royal Yachting Association, Scotland.

Yacht Deya, from Helensburgh, owned by Mr Chas Batchelor was host to Mrs Althea Hodge, General Secretary of the Anguilla Commonwealth Games Association and her husband Lowell and son Omar(10).  Deya was not going into Princes Dock at the end of the cruise.  She was returning to Rhu so it was necessary for the VIP,s to disembark.  Helensburgh RNLI Lifeboat undertook this task. 
Being VIP,s they were given the exclusive use of a car.  The driver happened to be Mr Lindsay Paterson a Clydesider (Commonwealth Games volunteer host) who’s wife Terry, also a  Clydesider, is an active member of the Helensburgh  RNLI fundraising committee.  Chas daughter Amy is an ex crew member of Helensburgh RNLI and Chas sailed to Anguilla in one of his Caribbean trips Search for long enough and you will always find links.


Byline: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution today announced the launch of a pilot scheme that will allow the charity to accept donations in Bitcoin.
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The RNLI is the first major charity in the UK or Ireland to accept Bitcoin, which is a form of digital currency.

Unlike conventional currencies, Bitcoins aren’t printed or minted – they don’t physically exist and are not controlled by a bank or government. Instead they are created and held electronically, allowing users to conduct transactions over the internet. They form part of a growing category of money known as ‘cryptocurrency’.

The RNLI has chosen to receive Bitcoin donations via a dedicated page ( The charity says that if the scheme is successful it may look at integrating Bitcoin into its standard donation pages.

Leesa Harwood, RNLI Deputy Director of Fundraising and Communications, said: “The RNLI has a history of innovation in fundraising, holding the first street collection in 1891. Bitcoin is an innovative new kind of currency and we believe that accepting Bitcoin will result in donations we may not otherwise receive, as well as connecting us with new types of supporters.”

Leesa added: “From our research into future trends, it looked likely that we would receive digital currency as a donation or as part of a legacy at some point and we wanted to be prepared for that eventuality. So a project team was founded to look at the feasibility of accepting Bitcoin, which has led to the pilot scheme we are launching today.

“We want to lead the way in accepting and benefiting from all forms of digital currency, so we’re running this scheme to allow our supporters to donate Bitcoins through a secure online system. We’ve chosen Bitcoin as it is an established and widely recognised digital currency.

“This is a pilot scheme and we are looking forward to seeing how it will proceed as part of our interest in cryptocurrencies and how they may work in the future. We will of course closely monitor how much money is donated. We already have safeguards in place to monitor donations, however we receive them.”

The number of businesses and organisations that accept Bitcoins is slowly growing and includes Expedia, the travel company; Dell, the computer retailer, and Cumbria University.

Notes to editors:

• Attached is a photograph of Leesa Harwood, RNLI Deputy Director of Fundraising and Communications

• The RNLI has no plans at present to accept Bitcoin in any of our shops, museums, online at or in the facilities at the RNLI college.

• The ability to accept Bitcoin is additional to all other existing online donation mechanisms and the RNLI has not budgeted for any specific amount. The RNLI will closely monitor how much money is donated.

• The RNLI looked at the maturity of the ecosystem and providers, price volatility, technical integration and security risks around Bitcoin in making this decision.

• The RNLI bitcoin page is:  

For more information contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789/


Byline: Four vessels have been towed to safety by RNLI Angle’s all weather and inshore lifeboats in a busy five days for the station.
Page Content: On Thursday (24 July) the lifeboat launched at 6.35pm to a report of a 6m fishing vessel broken down and at anchor off Sheep Island, near the entrance to the Milford Haven Waterway. There was one person on board.

The Tamar class lifeboat Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson, on relief duty at Angle, reached the casualty in 8 minutes and, after the casualty recovered her anchor, a tow was rigged and a course set for East Angle Bay.

At the entrance to East Angle the casualty was put into an alongside tow and taken to her moorings.

The lifeboat was released to return to her station, where she was rehoused at 7.50pm.

The following day the lifeboat was launched at 9.40pm to go to the aid of a 5.5m sailing boat, which had engine failure east of the Cleddau Bridge.

Once the lifeboat reached the scene, the casualty – with two people on board – was put into an alongside tow and taken to her moorings off Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock. With the boat safely secured, the lifeboat returned to her station, where she was rehoused at 10.50pm.
On Saturday, at 6.55pm, the lifeboat was alerted to an 8m steel motor vessel which had engine failure about one mile east of St Govan’s Head. There were two people on board.
The lifeboat reached the scene at 7.30pm and transferred a crew member to the casualty to assist with rigging a tow. A course was set for Milford Haven and at the entrance to the Docks the casualty was put into an alongside tow and taken to the Mackerel Stage, where she was safely secured.

After recovering her crew member, the lifeboat returned to her station for rehousing at 9.50pm.

In the fourth call-out in five days for RNLI Angle, the inshore lifeboat was launched at 3.43 pm on Monday to go to the aid of a 3.5m motor boat, which had engine failure in Pennar Gut in the Milford Haven Waterway.

Once the lifeboat was on the scene, a tow was rigged and the casualty vessel, with two people and a dog on board, was taken to the Yacht Club pontoon at Neyland. With the motor boat safely secured, the lifeboat returned to her station after an hour at sea.

Note to editors


RNLI Angle’s relief all weather lifeboat Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson.
Photo: RNLI/Angle.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Ted Goddard, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Angle, on 01437 763675 or Danielle Rush, Public Relations Manager (Wales & the West) on 07786668829 or 01745585162 or by email: or RNLI Public Relations on 01202336789


Byline: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has opened a box containing a bottle of 100-year-old brandy, a gift left in a Will to the charity which has been kept locked away for 24 years.
Page Content: Kept under lock and key since 1990, no RNLI HQ staff member had ever laid eyes on the bottle, until it was finally opened yesterday.

A generous bequest made by Mrs Mary Sennett who died in 1980, the historic bottle of brandy only made its way to the RNLI when the executor of Mrs Sennett’s estate passed away in 1990. The terms of this generous gift came with the simple stipulation that in 2014, when the brandy turns 100 years old, the bottle is to be sold at auction and the funds shared equally between the RNLI and the World Wildlife Fund UK.

Crew members training at the RNLI College were finally able to carefully unscrew the box and reveal an immaculately preserved bottle of F.Latour & Co Vieille Reserve Cognac from 1914 with an original 1914 seal.

David Baines, specialist wine expert at Charterhouse auctions, was on hand for a live valuation. With the perfect level of liquid, colour, an unbroken seal and unspoiled label, David was able to estimate that the bottle may reach between £500 and £1,000 at auction.

The RNLI hopes to auction the brandy in the autumn, though at this stage it is hard to tell what exact price the charity can expect it to fetch. More research will now be done to determine the exact value of the bottle and book the brandy into auction in the next few months.

Guy Rose, Legacy Income Manager says: ‘At this point it is still hard to know how much the bottle might fetch at auction, but we are really encouraged by David’s valuation and are hoping that potential buyers will be interested and inspired by the story and mystery behind it.

‘Where six out of 10 lifeboat launches are only made possible through gifts in Wills, after taking care of loved ones, any gift left to the RNLI is vital to the future of the charity’s lifesaving service.’

Just £59 pays for a pair of waterproof binoculars to help volunteer crews identify casualties in rough seas, £85 pays for a wetsuit so that a lifeguard may reach a swimmer in trouble and £330 pays for a new lifejacket to keep an inshore lifeboat crew member safe at sea.

Because of the indirect nature of the brandy’s arrival at the RNLI HQ in Poole 24 years ago, very little is known about the kind donor Mary Sennett and even less is known about the history of this antique bottle. A fitting gift, brandy has a long history with the RNLI as it was the standard practice since the very early days of the service until the late 1980’s to issue lifeboats with spirits, including brandy as an aid to help revive or sustain people. Coxswains were given strict instructions to ‘keep an eye’ on the issued bottle!

In the 1881 publication Treatment for Restoring the Apparently Drowned, the RNLI instructs:
‘On the restoration of life, a teaspoonful of warm water should be given; and then, if the power of swallowing be returned, small quantities of wine, warm brandy and water, or coffee should be administered.’ 

Joanna Bellis, Heritage Curatorial Manager at the RNLI says: ‘It certainly is a gift that fits perfectly with the maritime history of the RNLI, especially the most important aspect – saving lives.

‘We can’t say or prove that this bottle of brandy was kept on an RNLI lifeboat all those years ago. But it would be lovely if we could.’

For more information about leaving a gift in a Will contact, 01202 663204.