Sunday, 30 November 2008

Well, where to start? I knew there was to be a Coastguard helicopter exercise today but, as a probationer, never actually thought that I would be a part of it. We deployed in our boat and met the Hastings' boats at sea. I boarded the Hastings ALB for a short while until the helicopter arrived and some dry runs had been carried out. Then 2 of us were winched off of the Rye boat into the CG helicopter - massive grin factor! We (the pilot, not us)flew around for a while before being lowered back onto the Hastings ALB - more huge grins! Then it was back to the Rye boathouse to conduct the scattering at sea of ashes. Then back to the boathouse again to prepare the boat for subsequent service. An extremely varied and fascinating morning. Being winched was the easy bit I think, the helm's task of staying on station with the helicopter must be quite a task. What a day!!!!!!

Friday, 28 November 2008

This week training consisted of some navigation revision and then using the boat's plotter to enter way points and formulate a safe route. Hopefully we can check the route out in real time, on the water, on Sunday prior to the helicopter exercise. The training seems to be going well and the assessor is due back to the station shortly - hopefully to sign off some more competencies on my route to becoming a crew member. Obviously there was a post training de-brief in the Inkerman's! ;-) (That's the best bit) Looking forward to Sunday now, hopefully to get some time afloat, or to witness the helicopter exercise. Next week - Crew Christmas Dinner!! Excellent.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sundays Exercise

Sunday will see Rye Harbour Lifeboat and Hastings Inshore and Offshore boats training with the new coastguard helicopter from Lee-On-Solent. A blog on the exercise and photos will shortly follow.

Monday, 24 November 2008

A random photo of some of the crew exercising in the river earlier this year when it was a bit calmer (and warmer) than it is at the moment! Happy days.

A good and varied week

A very good and varied week at the boat house last week. Fitness tests were conducted and competencies were assessed. These all mark progress towards becoming a full member of the crew. Most exciting was the news that 2 of us probationers were to be loaded on the crew course at the Lifeboat College, Poole. I'm glad there's 2 of us going, 'cos the other chap is the brainy one and I can copy him! Although you never stop learning, it would be great to make the move from probationer to crew member. For the next few weeks we have things such as; further assessments, helicopter exercises and our Christmas dinner (can't wait).

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Frenchman's Beach Holiday Park raise £668

Stormy Stan the RNLI mascot received a cheque for £668 from Loopy the Rabbit, the mascot for Park Holidays UK which owns and operates Frenchman's Beach on Saturday, 22 November.

The fund raising bid started earlier in the year, when the six intrepid adventurers (Trish Noonan, Liam Duffey, Andrew Hennessey, Alan Reid, Amanda Richardson and Mark Tricker) set sail in the Rye Raft Race. The money was collected through sponsorship from colleagues and holiday home owners, and also collecting boxes sited at Frenchman's Beach holiday park.

Richard Tollett, RNLI Operations Manager at Rye Harbour Lifeboat Station, said: ‘I would like to thank everyone at Frenchman's Beach holiday park for this generous donation. It is generous donations like this that enable the RNLI to continue its lifesaving duties. The RNLI is funded by voluntary donation and not HM Government.’

Diane Parr, General Manager at Frenchman's Beach holiday park said: ‘The RNLI’s volunteer crews make a large contribution to seaside safety in our region and we are keen to support our local lifeboat station. This year, we’re pleased that our funds will help the RNLI charity.’

£700 Raised at Xmas Coffee Morning

The Christmas coffee morning held on Saturday 22 November at Rye Harbour Sailing Club raised an amazing £700.63. This is the second event organised by the new Fundraising Team, following the Rye Harbour and District Branch being placed into 'light preservation' due to dwindling volunteer numbers.

The new Fundraising Team at Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Station was set up on 11 June 2008, when the six remaining branch volunteers joined the Lifeboat Station.

Although this is the second event hosted by the Fundraising Team, they haven't been taking things easy. They have been setting up the Souvenir Shop at the Lifeboat Station - which is currently open on the first and third weekend of each month between 11 am and 3 pm.

Steve Tollett, RNLI Lifeboat Management Group Chairman at Rye Harbour said: 'The event was an outstanding success. It was good to see so many supporters come to the event. I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the Committee and members of Rye Harbour Sailing Club for gifting us the use of a wonderful venue, and to everyone who made this event the success it was, without you it would not be possible.

If you would like to become a member of a friendly, enthusiastic and active team, then send your name, address and telephone number to: Branch Membership Secretary, Rye Harbour Lifeboat Station, The Point, Rye Harbour Road, Rye Harbour. TN31 7TU

Monday, 17 November 2008

Mary Stanford Memorial Service

Yesterday was my first experience of the Mary Stanford memorial service. It is an extremely moving occasion and the church was filled to the rafters (and more). We were honoured with the presence of the RNLI Forest Row choir who were fantastic. After the service we retired to the village hall for tea and biscuits and from there on for a couple of 'sociables' down town. Tonight there are some assessments being conducted at the boat house, one of which is the fitness test!!!! Unbelievable timing after yesterday. That is all for now. If I survive tonight there will be more later......

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Mary Stanford Lifeboat Disaster - 80th Anniversary

This year was the 80th Anniversary of the Mary Stanford Lifeboat Disaster. On 15th November 1928, the Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat ‘Mary Stanford’ launched into a raging storm to go to the aid of the S.S. Alice of Riga, which had been involved in a collision off Dungeness Point.

Unbeknown to the 17 Crewmen of the Mary Stanford, the crew of the Alice has been rescued by the S.S. Smyrna. The crew of the Mary Stanford lifeboat never saw the recall signal, so set their sails, and rowed into the storm - which was raging in the English Channel.
The last time that the Mary Stanford Lifeboat was seen was by a young lad at Camber, when he saw the lifeboat capsize.

All 17 crewmen lost their lives that day. It is the biggest loss of life from a single lifeboat ever suffered by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

To mark this event, the Forest Row Lifeboat Choir, attended the annual Memorial Service at the Church of the Holy Spirit at Rye Harbour. There were in excess of 200 people in attendance. There was a short service at the graveside following the Memorial Service, where individual posies were laid on the 17 plaques and wreaths were laid on the grave – which is the actual memorial to the 17 crewmen.

Crew from Hastings, Dungeness and Littlestone Lifeboat Stations were also in attendance.