Chairman Neil Ramshaw opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. and advised that seven apologies had been received. In his capacity as Secretary he gave a last advance call for the April 26th A.G.M. requesting proposals/discussion items for the Agenda and Officers for election for next season. A reminder that John Taylor requires returned menu choices from those wishing to attend the Members’ Spring Lunch on Tuesday May 3rd and there is a capacity limit of fifty.
We welcomed today’s Speaker Mr Colin Senior from Wakefield accompanied by his wife June who would advise us about the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. His talk and accompanying D.V.D.’s were interesting, informative and at times emotional and struck an empathetic chord with the audience.The Institution is manned mainly by volunteers who at times operate in appalling conditions particularly offshore and deserve the best equipment and training possible to help save lives.
Sir William Hillary from Douglas Isle of Man formed what became known as the R.N.L.I. in 1824 with the motto “With Courage Nothing Is Impossible” and around 141,000 lives have since been saved. There has been a continuous development of Lifeboats, their design and supporting technology over the years with over 340 all-weather and inshore Lifeboats and 236 Lifeboat Stations servicing the British Isles. 4715 Volunteer Crew Members–men and women–form the backbone of this emergency service and whilst some have fishing backgrounds increasingly many are drawn from all other walks of life with the key requirements being the need to be physically fit and possessing the ability to work as part of a team. The R.N.L.I. is a Charity and National Emergency Service with its Headquarters in Poole but as well as coastlines operates on Inland Waterways (e.g. Flood Relief) with boats on the Thames, Loch Ness for instance and small Hovercraft at places such as Hunstanton, Morecambe, Southend and New Brighton, very often stationed in response to previous disasters such as the Marchioness sinking or the fate of the Chinese Cockle Pickers at Morecambe Bay. Lifeguards are also part of the R.N.L.I.brief and cover over 200 beaches in the U.K. and Channel Islands.
With one in ten volunteers only from a maritime background, training is essential and needs to cover such things as First Aid, Personal Safety, Navigation and Rolling Water training with the cost of such training in excess of £5700 per annum. Other notable statistics were that £410,000 per day is the cost to run the R.N.L.I. ; 24 people on average per day are rescued; 65% of income comes from legacies, 28% from voluntary contributions and the rest from merchandising etc.
Two D.V.D.’s were shown to the Forum Members , one relating to the 1981 rescue of the Bonita Crew which was caught in a hurricane resulting in the highest R.N.L.I. awards to the rescuers and closer to home a 2015 Scarborough “Gallantry Film” about the magnificent efforts of the Scarborough Lifeboat in treacherous conditions to save Andrew McGeown who unfortunately did not survive.
The engagement of those listening was shown by the questions and comments following and an opportunity for a financial collection was provided. (£50 fee plus £85 from members totalling £135)
The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of forty-one attendees was given by Roger Bancroft.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY