Belfry Meeting 8th January
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Lisa Rutter

By Carol Sencicle

Lisa is the regional Events Manager for the North and she kindly came along to talk to us at short notice when the previously arranged speaker cancelled. Lisa was introduced and thanked by our chairman Ian Harford.

Lisa opened her presentation by showing a short clip of a video showing a lifeboat at sea in 40 foot waves and sub-zero temperature. It really set the scene showing the conditions that the very brave crewmen (and women) have to face.

The RNLI was founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary. It was originally called the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. Sir William was an extremely brave and strong lifeboat crew member who saved over 300 people in his lifetime. In 1838 a very heroic lady called Grace Darling and her father saved 9 people from the stricken ship, Forfarshire. She rowed 5 people to shore herself in tremendous high waves. The RNLI opened a museum in Bamburgh in the North East to celebrate the contribution she made to the Institute.

As most of you will know the RNLI is a charity whose mission is to save life at sea. What many may not know is that it also has lifeguards on beaches and also covers the tidal reaches of the Thames and all inland waters. It provided help during the floods of the last two years by rescuing people who were stranded.

The RNLI is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It launches from more than 230 lifeboat stations covering the open sea up to 100 miles offshore as well as the inshore waters. It has over 4,800 lifeboat crew members whose average time to get to a lifeboat station is 6 minutes. In 2007 it launched 8,141 times and rescued 7,834 people (an average of 21 a day) saving 306 lives. The crew is supported by over 35,000 volunteers.

The Head Quarters of the RNLI is at Poole where there is an amazing training facility where all crew must have refresher training every year. The RNLI also spends effort in education in schools to help to stop people doing foolish things when near open water.

The cost of the RNLI is met entirely by contributions from the public. In 2007 the service cost £123.8 million, that's an average of £300,000 every day. Lisa organises various events to help to raise funds for the Institution. In last month's SCoM Newsletter there was an article describing a big event at the Chill Factore. On 30 January 2009 for just £30 you can have a super party / skiing evening whilst helping with fundraising for a very deserving cause. I hope that many of you will find time to support this event.
See SOS - Skiing and Snowballs for details.


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