Byline: Volunteers on the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team joined other emergency services to help those affected by flooding in Peebles last night (30 December).
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The team had to move a car stranded in the flood water before reaching the Scottish village.

Once there, they helped other services to evacuate the residents a nursing home cut off by the high of waters.

The RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team is made up of volunteer lifeboat crew members and lifeguards who receive  extra training to work in fast-moving flood waters.


Byline: At 3.45pm on Wednesday 30 December the volunteer crew’s pagers were activated by Belfast Coastguard.
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On arrival at the station details were relayed to the crew about a land based incident involving a bus with 12 persons on board stranded in a raging flood torrent just outside the village of Dailly, South Ayrshire, some 15 minutes away by road from Girvan lifeboat station.

The crew quickly gathered the equipment they would require and loaded it into vehicles whilst other crewmembers donned drysuits.

On arrival on scene, the crew prepared the equipment and liaised with the other agencies involved already, including Scottish fire and rescue, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance service, H.M Coastguard(Girvan) and Royal Navy helicopter(rescue 177)

At this time Royal Navy rescue 177 was in the process of airlifting the casualties from the stricken bus, this continued until 10 of the 12 passengers were removed from the vehicle at which point the helicopter had to refuel.

The decision was then taken to complete the evacuation of the final two casualties by boat.

Girvan lifeboat crew members then proceeded to set up rescue and safety lines and utilised the breeches buoy rescue equipment and Y boat to tether to a safety point about 100yards away and directly across from the bus.

Girvan crew members then boarded the Police Scotland’s marine launch along with Police Scotland water rescue/divers, the boat was then guided into position towards the rear of the bus.

At this stage Girvan Lifeboat crew members and police officers gained entry to the vehicle via a side window toward the rear of the bus and rescued the two remaining casualties into the boat.

The casualties were then brought to a safe zone and taken by Scottish Ambulance personnel to be checked over.

All 12 casualties including two children required no further medical attention after initial assessments.

The bus remains in position to be recovered later. This was a fine example of Girvan lifeboat crew working in partnership with other emergency service agencies to facilitate a land based rescue.

The gear was then tidied away and loaded back into our vehicles for the return journey to Girvan just as the pagers went off for a 2nd callout, which led to 17hrs total away from home for our volunteer crew between the 2 shouts.

RNLI Media Contacts: Craig Sommerville, Girvan’s volunteer lifeboat press officer, 07411 276383.


Byline: A long-serving lifeboat volunteer, already decorated for his part in a daring rescue in 1978, is among RNLI volunteers and staff recognised in this year’s New Year Honours.
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Richard Spindler, a volunteer of 50 years standing at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station; Ray Chapman, Coxswain at Skegness lifeboat station; Lady Rose Crossman, President of Berwick-upon-Tweed Fundraising Guild; and Janet Kelly, former Station Manager at Tower lifeboat station, have been awarded MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire). David Whiteley, Coxswain at Hoylake lifeboat station, has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal). All have been recognised for their contribution to saving lives at sea.

Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said:

‘I’m incredibly proud to see such well-deserving people recognised in the New Year Honours. The RNLI is full of extraordinary and inspirational people who give up their time to save lives at sea in so many different ways, so to receive such awards illustrates the dedication of Richard, Ray, Lady Rose, Janet and David.’

Richard Spindler, Deputy Launch Authority, Weston-Super-Mare – MBE

As soon as he was old enough, Richard Spindler, now 67, volunteered at Weston-super-Mare lifeboat station. As a 17-year-old, he learnt the skills he needed to save lives on the lifeboat and remained committed to the station and its local community for the next 50 years, earning several bravery awards for rescues in extreme conditions.

During a fierce gale in November 1978, Richard helped rescue three boys and two men trapped in a cave by the rising tide. He braved breaking surf and darkness and was awarded a Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum for his courage. Eight years later he was awarded another Vellum for a similar rescue. He retired as active boat crew in 1996 to take on the role of Deputy Launching Authority and becoming part of the team responsible for launching the lifeboat instead. During his time on the lifeboats, 218 lives were saved by the station’s volunteers.

As a charity, the RNLI depends on donations, and Richard is also a dedicated and enthusiastic fundraiser. He also uses his experiences on the lifeboat to inspire young people and teach them about sea safety.

Richard Spindler said: ‘I’m honoured to receive this award. To me this is an award to the team. Over the years I have served with many lifeboat crew members and I could not have done what I did without them. I have always been proud to be a part of the RNLI and always will be.’

Richard Spindler has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.

Ray Chapman, Coxswain, Skegness lifeboat station – MBE

As one of the most experienced and longest-serving volunteer lifeboat crew members in the UK, Ray Chapman has saved many people in trouble at sea during his time at Skegness lifeboat station. A launch to a sinking fishing boat in December 2011 was one such occasion when, faced with extreme cold, strong winds and worsening sea conditions, Ray spent nine hours on deck to make sure the fishermen were safe and the tow was successful.

Coxswain since 2012, Ray has spent the last 44 years dedicated to saving lives at sea, whether that’s on board the lifeboat, giving sea safety talks to school children or raising funds for the charity. He is well respected throughout the Lincolnshire town and his fellow crew-members look up to him as a role model.

Ray said: ‘I was flabbergasted when I received the letter – you never expect something like this.  It’s an honour to receive the award, but it’s not just for me – I don’t lifeboat on my own, I go out with a whole crew and it’s all about team work.’

Alan Fisher, Skegness Lifeboat Operations Manager, said, ‘When things get sticky out on the water, the other crew look up to him for inspiration because of the wealth of his knowledge’

Ray Chapman has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.

David Whiteley, Coxswain, Hoylake lifeboat station – BEM
David Whiteley has inspired his crew and the local community with his efforts both as the Coxswain of Hoylake lifeboat and as a successful fundraiser for the RNLI. Since joining the Hoylake lifeboat in 1976, David has dedicated his time and energy to the charity’s fundraising work, including acting as figurehead for an ambitious £2M appeal for a new boathouse. His commitment to fundraising is matched by his devotion to his duties as volunteer lifeboat Coxswain. During his 40 years’ service, including the last 15 years as Coxswain, he has played a vital role in saving over 150 lives at sea.
He takes a leading role in training his fellow volunteers; mentoring his crew and making sure they receive the best opportunities to learn the skills needed to save lives at sea. He has also played a key part in planning the new Hoylake lifeboat station which opened in 2008, and the arrival of its new Shannon class lifeboat in 2014.
For David, the RNLI is a family affair. His father Tank was a volunteer at Hoylake lifeboat station for 55 years and his two sons James and Daniel have served as crew at the same station. His wife Julie and daughter Rosalind are also dedicated fundraisers for the RNLI.

David said: ‘It’s a real privilege to be recognised. The RNLI has been an important part of my, and my family’s, life for the last 40 years, and it’s already a great honour to be part of the lifeboat station. It’s not just me that’s recognised with this award, it’s all the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and crew at the station and in the community.’

David Whiteley has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Maritime Safety.

Lady Rose Crossman, RNLI Fundraising Guild President, Berwick-upon-Tweed – MBE

For 41 years, Lady Rose Crossman has been fundraising for the local RNLI lifeboat station and inspiring others to follow her lead. She has done everything from abseiling down the walls of Bamburgh Castle to serving refreshments at fundraising events.

Lady Rose has been the driving force behind fundraising activities that have been successful despite the tough economic climate and she constantly looks for new and inventive ways to raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Lady Rose is also a major benefactor on the island of Lindisfarne and has supported the wildlife centre for school children and the rebuilding of the town hall, which is named after her in recognition of her support.

Lady Rose Crossman has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for voluntary services to maritime safety.

Janet Kelly, Station Manager (retired), Tower Lifeboat station, London – MBE

Janet Kelly joined the RNLI in 2001 at an important point in its history. After the Marchioness tragedy, the charity had been asked to provide lifeboats on the Thames – the first time such a service would be on the capital’s river. It was Janet’s tact, diplomacy and hard work that helped to ease the introduction of this lifesaving service to London and she even managed to negotiate the purchase of Tower lifeboat station’s pier location – a key strategic site – for the sum of £1.

Janet was in charge of Tower lifeboat station – the busiest in the UK – from 2001 to 2015, in which time the lifeboat crew launched 10,237 times, helped 3,653 people and saved 254 lives. Janet pioneered the flexible working arrangements that allowed volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds to join the core full time crew and keep the station operational 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year round.

Janet is one of the most highly regarded individuals in the RNLI – an exceptional accolade from a charity with so many extraordinary individuals. Now retired from her role as Station Manager, Janet continues to volunteer for the RNLI.

Janet said: ‘I’m overwhelmend that I’ve even been considered for an award such as this. I was part of a team that started lifeboats in London and the credit should go not just to me, but to the crews, volunteers and our partner emergency services and professional agencies who made it work from day one. Everyone worked so hard and I’m so proud to see that London lifeboats are now part of the lifesaving fabric on the river.’

Janet Kelly has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Maritime Safety.

Notes to editors

• Full breakdown of awards as follows:
o Richard Spindler, Deputy Launching Authority, RNLI Weston-super-Mare – MBE
o Ray Chapman, Coxswain, RNLI Skegness – MBE
o David Whiteley, Coxswain, RNLI Hoylake – BEM
o Lady Rose Crossman, Fundraising President of Berwick-upon-Tweed RNLI Guild – MBE
o Janet Kelly, Station Manager (rtd), RNLI Tower – MBE
• The British Empire Medal (BEM), recently revived by David Cameron after being phased out during John Major’s term in office, is awarded to people for work in their local community.
• The Member of the Order of the British Empire recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds. There are five grades, as well as the recently added British Empire Medal (BEM)
o Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
o Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE)
o Commander (CBE)
o Officer (OBE)
o Member (MBE)

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789. 


Byline: Following a series of alcohol related emergency shouts, the RNLI’s lifeboat crews along the River Thames have issued a warning to those partying in the capital during the festive season.
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) warning comes after the crew at Tower lifeboat station (located next to Waterloo Bridge) launched three times in 48 hours to drunken revellers, which included a search mission the early hours of Sunday 20 December when a fancy dress Santa Claus was feared to have fallen in the water after losing his friends on a stag-do. Press release here

Late night on Monday 21 December, the same lifeboat crew were called to three drunken girls who were all being sick after celebrating on a party boat. Shortly afterwards, Tower RNLI sped to the scene of an intoxicated man walking on the railway lines on the Hungerford foot Bridge. The man was safe and well and care was handed over to the Police.

Stan Todd, RNLI Helmsman who is working over the Christmas and New Year period said: ‘Plunging into icy cold river water can cripple even the young and fit – cold water shock can take control in seconds, causing uncontrollable gasping which draws water into the lungs and makes it almost impossible to swim – or even stay afloat at all.’

Adam Robson, the RNLI’s Community Incident Reduction Manager for the River Thames, said: ‘Slips, trips or falls can happen all too easily and expectantly, especially if you’ve been drinking. If you fall in to the River Thames’ fast flowing water, even if you’re a strong swimmer, you’re at huge risk of extreme danger. Mix this with the consumption of alcohol and you’ve got yourself a perfect cocktail for a potentially serious life or death situation.’

‘We are advising Londoners to not let drunken bravado or what may seem like a harmless dare tempt you to go for a swim or enter the river. Please have fun with your friends during the holidays, but take extra care of yourself and your mates on and around the River Thames.’

‘Our crews in London (at Teddington, Chiswick and Tower – and Gravesend further along the river in Kent) are ready to race to an emergency duty 24/7, 365 days of the year. So if you see someone who may look like they are in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

You can find out more about the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign here.


RNLI media contacts
• James Oxley, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / james_oxley@rnli.org.uk
• Sophie Coller-Nielsen, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / Sophie_coller-nielsen@rnli.org.uk
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


Byline: A RNLI London lifeboat crewman has become one of only a handful of people in the charity’s 191-year history to launch more than 1,000 times, rescuing 203 people and saving 42 lives in the process.
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Tower RNLI lifeboat station, a floating pier nestled on the River Thames next to Waterloo Bridge in the heart of London, is where full-time helmsman Mick Nield calls the office.

It is from here that the 46-year-old from City Way in Rochester, Kent, has been saving lives on the river since the RNLI began operating in London in 2001.

During that time he has plucked drowning swimmers to safety who were moments from death, brought a man who was not breathing and who had no pulse back to life and even pulled a man from the water who had jumped off a boat to escape his complaining wife!

After being a crew member at the busiest lifeboat station in the UK and Republic of Ireland for almost 15 years, the desire to help others is stronger than ever for the former Army Royal Engineer and father of two.

Mick said: ‘Not many people in the RNLI’s history have made it to 1,000 launches so it’s a nice feeling to reach the milestone. Even now I still get that rush of adrenalin when the bell goes and we launch the lifeboat.

‘I play out scenarios in my mind about how a rescue might unfold before we arrive. It can be tense. You may only get one chance to grab someone before they go under, but you put any nerves to the back of your mind and keep focused and calm so you can do your job and save that person.’

One of the lifeboat launches that shine’s brightest in Mick’s memory was to a man spotted face down in the River Thames in central London.

He said: ‘I remember a job where we pulled a chap from river at Blackfriars Bridge. He was face down in the water. He wasn’t breathing and had no pulse when we got him on the lifeboat so the crew carried out CPR.

‘In the space of the 500m or so between Blackfriars and the lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge, the man had regained consciousness and was able to shake the crew’s hands and walk off the lifeboat. It was incredible.’

Being an RNLI crew member at the heart of a city of more than eight million people keeps Tower RNLI’s mix of full time and volunteer crew members busy with a varied mix of emergencies.

The River Thames is used safely by thousands of people every day, but fast flowing currents, cold waters and numerous obstacles can catch people out. And sadly, part of the lifeboat crew’s work is helping those people who have attempted to take their own lives.

Mick added: ‘A job that sticks in the mind was to a man on the riverbank at Greenwich who had been in the river but managed to get himself out. He was in a fenced off area which meant the police and ambulance couldn’t get to him by land.

‘We approached from the water and it turned out the man had tried to take his own life after being made redundant. He told us he was going to jump into the river again. He was in a bad way so we sat together talking for about 20 minutes.

‘We talked about our families and I told him my family were at home waiting for me to finish work, but if he jumped back in, I would jump in after him, risking my life to rescue him. I think this struck a chord because he let us take him to safety.’

Mick’s 1,000th lifeboat launch was a short one. The lifeboat crew were called by the Coastguard to a report of a vulnerable lady at Vauxhall Bridge but thankfully she was helped by the police on land and the lifeboat was stood down.

Mick said: ‘After 1,000 shouts, what keeps this job fresh for me is the volunteers. There are about 50 of them who give up their time to do shifts on the lifeboat. They see being part of the crew through fresh eyes and their enthusiasm is infectious. They’re a source of friendship and a great group of people to be around.

‘Working for the RNLI as lifeboat crew in the centre of London is a great job. On the rare occasions I have a bad day, I think about how lucky I am to be able to save people’s lives as a job. It’s not a bad legacy to leave.’

Notes to editors

Photo credit: Pierre Maelzer Photography

RNLI media contacts
• James Oxley, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / james_oxley@rnli.org.uk
• Sophie Coller-Nielsen, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / Sophie_coller-nielsen@rnli.org.uk
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


Byline: Despite driving rain and fairly heavy breaking seas, the Boxing Day Dip took part at the Rhyl RNLI station on the 26/12/2015. This is the first of what is hoped to be an annual event in Rhyl’s social calendar.
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The event was initially organised by Seth Pierce and Keith Jones for Rhyl Rugby club and took part at Splash Point at the eastern end of the promenade. It was discussed with crew members at Rhyl RNLI, who agreed they would like to take part and were very happy that funds would come in part to the RNLI. The event would take place at 1100 on Boxing day 2015. People would be able to raise funds for their pet charity, but would also have donate a set amount to Rhyl RNLI.
The crew members who had helped to organise the event were mobilised at 9.30am on the morning of the dip, as they form part of North Wales’ RNLI flood rescue team, so had to get to their base in St.Asaph to standby for call.
The remainder of the crew pulled out all the stops and everything was ready for the event.
Before the dip, the Mayor of Rhyl, Cllr Barry Mellor, was the judge of those who turned up in fancy dress. The winner was announced, and the gent revealed he was the chairman of a Manchester RNLI fundraising branch!
At the appointed hour, the alarm signal was made at the station, and 100 hardy souls braved the waters, guarded by the volunteers of Rhyl RNLI with the inshore lifeboat and additional crew.
Those hardy souls were offered refreshments by the crew’s wives who were ready in the boathouse with warm drinks and mince pies.
 The event was very successful, and a local bank has agreed that they will fund-match any monies raised up to a maximum of £750. Totals will be revealed when to hand.
Also attending the event was Rhyl honorary crew member Harry Mascall, who is also raising funds on facebook and Twitter, and is well on his way to visiting evry RNLI station in the Uk and Eire.

A video is available on facebook on

Paul Frost MBE, acting Coxswain of Rhyl lifeboat on the day says “This event was a huge success and is the first of what we hope will be an annual event. We are very grateful to the organisers and the people taking part on what was a very stormy day. The community of Rhyl all pulled together to make the event so successful”


Byline: The volunteer crews of both the RNLI Sheerness lifeboats responded to reports of a yacht in difficulties in the River Medway
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The inshore lifeboat (ILB) ‘Eleanor’ was launched at 9.42pm to the
25 foot yacht ‘Margaritta II’ with
two male persons onboard and in trouble with a fouled anchor in the area of the
Stoke Oaze Buoy in the River Medway estuary.

Due to the very poor weather
conditions an immediate decision was made by the ILB crew to call out the much
larger all weather lifeboat (ALB) ‘George
and Ivy Swanson’
to assist with the rescue. The ALB launched at 10.00pm.

The ILB made contact with the
casualty at 10.05 pm and after a crew member was put on board the yacht
attempts were made to free the fouled anchor.Being well and truly stuck the
inevitable happened and the anchor cable snapped.

A tow line was attached from
the ILB to prevent the casualty craft from drifting into further danger whilst
awaiting the arrival of the ALB.

The ALB arrived on the scene
at 10.15pm, the tow line was transferred and the casualty was then towed back
to the safety of the all tide landing at Queenborough Harbour.

Sheerness Lifeboat coxswain
Robin Castle said:’the yacht had been taken out for a day’s sailing in the
river but on trying to return to its mooring at Gillingham, due to the very
poor conditions of high winds and strong tides, was unable to make any headway upriver.
The two crew members of the yacht were ok and grateful to be back in the calmer
waters of Queenborough Harbour.’

Both lifeboats returned to
station at 12.05 am and after cleaning down the boats and equipment the crews
were released.

The volunteer crews of all
RNLI lifeboat stations are on call 24 hours a day,365 days a year and respond
to all requests for help at sea regardless of the conditions




Media contacts:

Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer
/ 0 at1795 880544 /
vic.booth111@btinternet.com /

James Oxley RNLI Public Relations
Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 / james_oxley@rnli.org.uk 

  • Sophie
    Coller-Nielsen RNLI Press officer (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / sophie_coller-nielsen@rnli.org.uk
  • For
    enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press
    officer on 01202 336789        


Byline: Christmas morning at 5 am, RNLI volunteers from Amble lifeboat station launched both the all-weather lifeboat The Four Boys and the inshore lifeboat Mildred Holcroft after receiving reports that a person was seen in the water off Alnmouth beach.
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The launch
was at the request of HM Coastguard after a member of the public reported that
a male adult had entered the sea close to Alnmouth golf course.  Both lifeboats mobilised very quickly and
headed off to Alnmouth.  The crews were
concerned about the individual as the sea temperature was only 9 degrees
centigrade and rapid onset of hypothermia was very likely. However, on arrival
at scene, our colleagues from HM Coastguard Amble were pleased to report that
the man was safely ashore and was being attended to by an ambulance crew from
North East Ambulance Service.

The news
that the man was safe was welcomed and both lifeboats stood down, then returned to
station at 5.45 am.

All members
of RNLI Amble would to like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.  



Byline: Tobermory Lifeboat Station opens up to help the annual Santa Dash
Page Content: On a cold wet and decidedly windy Sunday morning Tobermory Lifeboat Station opened to assist in the running of the annual Tobermory Santa Dash. The event is run every year to raise money for Marie Currie Cancer Care.

The Tobermory Lifeboat Station was used as the staging area for the organising team, and additionally to give the participants shelter from the elements whilst changing into their festive Santa costumes. This annual event is greatly supported by the community and in spite of the weather; the turnout of participants and supporters was excellent.

RNLI media contacts:

Michael Stirling, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer Tobermory on 07921 515686 or Mick_Stirling@rnli.org.uk 

Richard Smith, Public Relations Manager Scotland on 01738 642956, 07786 668903 or richard_smith@rnli.org.uk

Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, henry_weaver@rnli.org.uk

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

RNLI onlineFor more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/pressKey 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives. The RNLI is a charity registered in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.