Posted by: lifeboatlady | 28/05/2013

An RNLI Yarn Stormer

Just love this knitted RNLI crew member who I found on the internet Saltburn Yarnbombers made this May 2013 with other sea things on pier (2)today.

I’ve read before about the Saltburn Yarn Stormers who knit colourful figures which then mysteriously appear round the seaside town overnight.   And now, last Friday/Saturday night, the Yarn Stormers struck again with new figures of seaside scenes which have suddenly appeared all along the pier.

Prominent among them is the RNLI figure.

You can read the whole story in the Northern Echo, click here.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 24/12/2012

Happy Christmas

With very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all readers, but most importantly to all RNLI crew, shore helpers and volunteers.

RNLI people category runner up

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 20/11/2012

Chris Jowett gets his Badge

Here’s Chris Jowett receiving his RNLI award for Education Branch service this summer.    Chris had been conducting a seminar on the use of Power Point at the Ipswich base of the East and South Operations Division, RNLI, and Education Manager East Judith Duncan took the opportunity to present his badge.

Many congratulations to Colin Sedgwick of Southend RNLI who has won Silver in the Southend-on-Sea Citizen of the Year Awards. 

Colin was recognized for 55 years of voluntary service with Southend RNLI, including being Lifeboat Operations Manager for 25 years.

He said: “I am very honoured to have been given this award and would like to thank those people who nominated me.   RNLI is a big part of my life, but I like to think I have served Southend in many other ways over the last 55 years and to me this feels like a thank you from the whole town.”

As Silver winner, Colin received a trophy and £300 which he donated to the Mayor’s charity fund.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 26/08/2012

Just the day for a paddle!

Great picture today of Justin Kerr and Graeme Stallard having a paddle on the beach at Cromer.   Don’t they look great in their RNLI kit!

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 19/08/2012

A bit of a dodgy Air Sea Rescue

Cromer Carnival has taken place this week, and the RNLI always take part, with some really innovative ideas.

We all know that our lifeboat crews practise with Air Sea Rescue, so not surprising this RNLI effort appeared in the Carnival Procession.   There’s an inshore boat that just about fits one crew member, (and looking like it’s based on a quad bike, or maybe a mobility scooter!).   It’s towing a little trailer fixed up as a small boat complete with someone fishing at the back and a large grey fish being dragged along.    I say fish;  more like a whale on a wooden crate.    Following behind is a yellow helicopter;  well, a small yellow run-about with rotor blades attached to the top.

Not too sure whether Lifeboat Lady would put her trust in this lot for a rescue!

Meanwhile the real RNLI float had been secretly constructed in the boathouse  –  lots of sawing wood.  

And this is what they came up with.    And it won 3rd place in its class. 

                                                                     And it looks like Stormy Stan is joining the Army!

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 14/08/2012

Sherwin Chase, 1927 to 2012

Lifeboat Lady is very sorry to have to record the death on 8th August of Sherwin Chase.

Sherwin was one of the Founders of the Thurrock Branch of RNLI back in the 1950s, later becoming its long-time Chairman and President.   It was a real lifeboat family as Sherwin’s late wife, Betty, was Branch Secretary and Treasurer.

Sherwin led the Branch’s efforts over the years to raise a huge amount of money for RNLI, but as well he was a presenter giving talks to local groups about the lifeboats.   Always practical, Sherwin could make, alter and repair anything, and that led him to be one of a small group who built a one-third size copy of a Brede class lifeboat.   It was correct down to the smallest detail, and had its own set of signal flags.   Over the next 50 plus years it has been used not just by Thurrock Branch but by neighbouring groups to raise thousands for RNLI.   And it still exists to this day, used less, but still useful.  He and his pals built another boat, too;  an earlier type of pulling and sailing lifeboat, (sails if there’s wind, and oars if not).   The two boats were named the Henry de Grey and the Catherine de Grey after the de Grey family who were Lords of the Manor of the area in the 12th century and gave their name to the town of Grays Thurrock.

That perhaps showed Sherwin’s great interest in history.   He was an active member of the Thurrock Local History Society, with his speciality being maritime history.   He contributed articles to magazines and journals and gave talks on maritime matters particularly Thames barges and the training ships moored off Grays.   He was an avid collector of maritime historical items, especially if there were a link to Lord Nelson  –  his hero.   He also collected memorabilia from Royal Navy and Merchant Navy ships, and Royal Yachts, but was prepared to include the Army and RAF if something took his eye.   One of his most treasured items was the bell from HMS Malcolm as that is his son’s name.   Over the years he had loaned items for exhibitions locally at  Thurrock Museum and at Purfleet Garrison Museum, and nationally to such august bodies as the Greenwich Maritime Museum and Portsmouth National Maritime Museum. 

Sherwin was a member of Corringham Thameside Rotary Club, being a Past President.   He continued to attend the weekly meetings, whenever his health allowed, until quite recently.   His other interests included singing for many years as a member of the Thurrock Male Voice Choir.  

Sherwin was born in Grays in 1927, and lived here all his life.   His father was the Manager of Mitchell’s department store in the town.   He was a Local Government Officer with the local Council.   He had one son, Malcolm, who is an academic historian.   In recent years he had much ill-health which restricted his activities and meant he often had to turn down invitations to special national maritime history events.   He was much irked by his physical condition stopping him doing the things he enjoyed.   He spent his last few weeks in Basildon Hospital  with complications following major surgery, and died there last Wednesday.

Sherwin Chase held all the badges awarded to volunteers by RNLI, including the Gold Badge and Bar.   In 1999 he was made an Honorary Life Governor of the RNLI.

Although Sherwin had necessarily withdrawn from the local lifeboat branch some six or so years ago, it is quite remarkable that any mention of RNLI in the Thurrock area still brings the response, “Oh yes, Sherwin Chase”.

He will be much missed in Thurrock, not least by Lifeboat Lady who was privileged to call him a friend.

I’ve just received my copy of the RNLI’s souvenir booklet for HM 

Front cover of Diamond Jubilee booklet, pixellated and each pixel is a lifeboat or crew member

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, called “Celebrating 60 Years of Extraordinary Commitment”.

It has lovely pictures of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family with lifeboats over the years, including some excellent ones of HM The Queen Mother, and some rare and beautiful shots of the Duchess of Kent.

There are stories and pictures for each of those 6o years featuring special events in the RNLI’s history:  outstandingly brave rescues; lifeboats lost at sea with all hands;  flood rescues;  the first RNLI lifeguard to receive a medal;  and the opening of the new RNLI headquarters and later the RNLI College, and much more.   An early picture in 1954 is of the legendary lifeboatman, Henry Blogg GC, who died that year aged 71. 

Timeline in Diamond Jubilee booklet

Then inside the front cover is a timeline from 1952 to 2011 showing the picture of a lifeboat crew member who was awarded a medal for gallantry in each of those years.   (No entry for 2012 because awards will not be decided until the end of the year.)   Amazingly, in the 1970s Superintendent Coswain Brian Bevan of Humber Lifeboat Station became the first man to be awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals at one award presentation ceremony.   The first was a Silver Medal for a service in December 1978 when he and his crew rescued six people during a violent storm.   The Gold Medal was for a service on 14 February 1979 when four were rescued from a cargo vessel in another violent storm, and just the next day, 15 February, the Bronze Medal was awarded to him when he and his crew spent 15 hours in a hurricane and heavy snow to escort a Romanian cargo vessel to safety.

This great booklet is a limited edition, for which there was a suggested donation of £5, (although of course the RNLI is grateful to receive larger donations for it).   I can’t find any reference to the booklet on the RNLI website.   I ordered mine at the AGM and Annual Awards Presentation in May.   But it might be worth asking the RNLI if anyone is interested.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 21/05/2012

Monte Blogg of Cromer

Those who know about the history of Cromer lifeboats and the great Henry

Henry Blogg and Monte

Blogg may also know about his dog, Monte.  

In October 1932 the Cromer lifeboat was called to the Italian ship, Monte Nevoso, which was stranded on Haisborough Sands.   The lifeboat made many launches to the vessel and rescued 29 of the crew.   The captain and three other crew refused to leave the ship, but when the vessel broke up they left in their own motor boat.   The lifeboat returned home 52 hours after the first launch.

Henry Blogg received his first RNLI Silver Medal for this rescue and a Silver Medal and diploma from the Italian Government.   He also received a Canine Defence League medal for saving the life of a Tyrolean sheepdog that had been on the ship.   Henry liked dogs, so the captain gave it to him and he called it Monte, after the ship.

From then on, the dog often appeared in photographs of Henry or of the lifeboat crew.

Well now the crew members at Cromer have been joined by another Monte.   And what’s more he has his own Facebook page.

Monte is becoming widely travelled.   He has visited lifeboat stations around the East Anglian coast, but has also been to Wales and Northern Ireland.   He’s had one or two narrow escapes.   When he was out on the Cromer Tamar, there was a moment when it looked like he might go overboard.   And then the crew put him out on to the East Sheringham buoy;  he looks stranded and lonely, but says they didn’t leave him there long.

For those of you on Facebook, here’s the link to Monte’s page.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 18/04/2012

Walton & Frinton in the middle of the road

Here’s a very unusual photo of Walton & Frinton’s RNLI shop, which is also the Lifeboat Station.   It looks as though it’s in the middle of several roads.   Well, it is.   The lifeboat itself lies moored at a specially-built sheltered pontoon at the end of the pier.   When there is a shout, the crew have to kit up at the station, run across two roads, down a hill, and along the pier to the boat.

Sorry I can’t reproduce the actual photo, but I found it on Flickr and the photographer doesn’t allow his pictures to be downloaded.   The same set contains several pics well worth looking at of rough seas at Walton  –  have to say, been there, done that.   Here’s the link:-

Clearly the building doesn’t need wall cladding.   The many record of service boards do that job!

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 31/12/2011

Love my Lifeboatmen Russian Dolls

I got hold of these “Russian doll” type lifeboatmen a RNLI Russian dollscouple of years ago from an RNLI shop  –  I think Sheringham, but could be wrong on that.   I didn’t ever see them on sale again, which is such a pity.   I think they are great, and am sure they would sell well.   They are lined up on the window sill in my hall.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 24/12/2011

Happy Christmas from Lifeboat Lady

Lifeboat Lady wishes all friends a very Happy Christmas and a good New Year, and special good wishes and thanks to all Lifeboat crews, and to their shore helpers, and to all RNLI volunteers.

(Photograph taken at River Lea Country Park Reindeer Run 2011)

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 14/12/2011

Lifeboat Gent Gets Bronzed

Lifeboat Lady was really pleased this summer when Tim Yeowell, known in these pages as Lifeboat Gent, was awarded the RNLI’s Bronze Badge for his education work in the Eastern Region.   Somehow it makes all those stifling hot days spent at scout jamborees, cub megacamps and so on  –  that’s when we’re not squelching around in the mud  –  and hours spent on seaside piers in the driving rain with imminent danger of frostbitten fingers  –  seem worth while.

The Badge was presented at RNLI East’s Awards Ceremony held at Robinson College, Cambridge.   Lifeboat Gent was actually away on holiday at the time, and came back specially for the day.   Here he is receiving his Badge.

We had plenty of friends receiving awards too.   On the fund-raising side, Janet Slater from Epping received her Silver Badge, and Peter Hacking from Thurrock his Bronze Badge.   Then from our Education Team, Paul Rush from Stowmarket received the Silver Badge, John Tingey from Walton the Bronze Badge, and Michael Knight also received an award.

After a very pleasant lunch,  all the awards were presented.

Here’s Education Manager East, Judith Duncan, with the four members of her team who won awards.   Left to right: Tim Yeowell, John Tingey, Judith Duncan, Paul Rush and Michael Knight.

Posted by: lifeboatlady | 31/07/2011

Speakers’ Corner at Burnham, but where’s the boat?

Every year Judith Duncan, the RNLI East Regional Education Manager, runs a Speakers’ Corner event for all her team of volunteer presenters, to bring them up to date with new education equipment, posters and leaflets, and to hear about new lifeboats on station, and new or updated boathouses and stations.  Over the years we have been to many different lifeboat stations in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and our most recent was at Burnham-on-Crouch.

The Station Manager and crew made us very welcome in their splendid modern station, which is bang in the middle of the yacht marina.  On the ground floor is the drying room for kit and equipment where every crew member has a space for his/her suits, helmet, lifejacket and boots, and usually a crate containing assorted gloves, socks and whatever they choose to wear under their dry suits.  Also on this floor is a shower room, lavatories and storage.  On the first floor is the control room cum recreation room and kitchen.   But no boat?   Ah, you’ll have to wait to hear about that.

Judith told us all about the new “All Aboard” teachers’ pack, and showed us copies of the “All Aboard” book which is packed with competitions and quizzes for children, and tells them about the RNLI and its services in a fun way.   We also saw the many different colouring sheets which can be downloaded from the RNLI special website for young people,, where there are even more things to do.

Judith was followed by Andrew Ashton, the RNLI’s Divisional Inspector for the East Division; that is to say the man who is in charge of all operations at lifeboat stations throughout the division.  And those of us who think Judith’s region is ridiculously large to manage, stretching as it does from the Thames to the Wash, taking in the six East Anglian counties, chunks of north London, and parts of the midlands including Leicester and Coventry; well Andrew’s division stretches from the Wash to the Solent, although of course just the lifeboat stations on the coast.  Andrew told us all about developments of new boats, particularly where our East stations were having new ones, and improvements being made to station buildings, usually to house the newer, bigger boats.   We heard how Hunstanton was having an Atlantic 85 needing bigger accommodation;  Wells was having a soft track vehicle which would go over sand, and with a high placed engine, to launch their boat;  Happisburgh were having to move south to temporary facilities because of the cliff dropping through erosion;  Lowestoft had to have a new pontoon as the other one sank!!;  Aldeburgh had a Bob Cat to level off the shingle beach;  at Walton substantial pier repairs were necessary to maintain access to the boat;  Southend was having rebuilt shore facilities for one of the inshore boats and the hovercraft.  He also told us about Burnham, but as I said above, more of that later.  Andrew also told us about the increasing moves to film rescues, both so there is a factual record of rescues and because of the opportunity to use such films for fund-raising and increased awareness.   He said the Atlantic 85s had a fixed camera, and the Tamars had a zoom camera controlled from the wheelhouse.

RNLI Divisional Inspectors are required to be either Royal Navy or Merchant Navy senior officers, so Lifeboat Gent had a great time over lunch reminiscing with Andrew in the usual way, “did you ever know old so-and-so of the such-and-such line”.

After lunch, we were pleased to meet Stuart Thompson, Deputy Divisional Lifeguard Manager for the East.   Stuart told us about the beaches around the East Anglian coast where there are RNLI lifeguards during the summer season, and updated us on the number and type of rescues they had carried out.

And after all that, we had the real fun bit of the day when we walked a considerable way along the L-shaped pontoon in the Marina until we reached………………. the floating boathouses!   Yes, Burnham had two boats, a D class and an Atlantic 75 and both were housed in what can best be described as floating garages, complete with up-and-over doors.   But not garages or up-and-over doors that might be seen in a domestic setting; real hi-tech boathouses, with the doors  electrically operated from a control panel, which not only lifted the door but dropped the boat into the water ready to go, and, on return to the boathouse, lifted the boat almost out of the water and shut the door.

Since our visit, Burnham were told they were to have a new Atlantic 85 boat to replace their 75, and that has meant a bigger boathouse.  The RNLI station branch launched an appeal to pay for it, and almost £125,000 has been raised of the £130,000 required.   Congratulations to all Burnham fund-raisers.


Posted by: lifeboatlady | 22/07/2011

Dolly’s properly kitted up

One of the things we and the RNLI’s Sea Check Officers always stress to people is the need to wear lifejackets.  

 I think we’ve got the message over here.

This is Hamish Loudon’s three-year-old grandaughter who is not only happy to wear her own lifejacket, but has insisted that her dolly has been fitted with her own RNLI-branded version!    (Photograph thanks to Hamish and to RNLI)

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