One of the greatest strengths of the RNLI is that the volunteers are part of one big family – we all look out for each other. There is daily evidence of this in the 238 stations around Great Britain and Ireland, but particularly so this weekend.
A few weeks ago, at RNLI Port Talbot, a discussion took place after watching an episode of Saving Lives at Sea. Clive Morris, lifeboat operations manager (LOM) and Ceri Jeffreys, deputy launching authority, wanted very much to send a gesture of friendship and support to the crews of the lifeboat stations along the southeast coast. Their first thoughts were that it should definitely be something Welsh: Welsh cakes and bara brith came to mind, and it went on from there. Ceri’s best friend, Lee Pugh, is head of baking at Cardiff Metropolitan University and he asked him if they could bake some cakes for the boxes that they were preparing to send. This turned out to be eight hundred cakes, “and when you see that number in one place it is massive!” said Ceri. Lee even put off baking his own wedding cake to bake all those for the RNLI volunteers first. Dave Owens, from Cardiff Met, supported the cake baking too. A big thank you too goes to all the Porthcawl bakers who were involved.
Then they thought, what would a crew most enjoy once back from a long, cold and wet shout? Tea and coffee, something sweet, and rum to warm them up. They added Welsh butter for the bara brith and cream for the rum: such thoughtful gifts.
The boxes of goodies were dispatched to RNLI Rye Harbour where the LOM, Paul Bolton, and his family took on the task of delivering the parcels to Hastings, Littlestone, Dungeness, Dover and Ramsgate. The smiles on the faces of the crews said it all when they discovered these kindnesses from Port Talbot.
Port Talbot’s Clive Morris sent a letter with each box explaining that it was a small token of that station’s total respect for an amazing job well done. “We wanted to put a smile on your faces and send a bit of Christmas cheer from us to you. It is to show above all else that we are all one crew and stand in friendship together.”
During the pandemic, Port Talbot joined RNLI Rye Harbour and Hastings in online training and through this, very strong bonds have been developed between the stations.
It is good to know no matter where your station is, or how big or small, that you can rely on your fellow volunteers to help, support, encourage you and put a smile on your face.
Happy Christmas from us all to all the dedicated volunteers who give up so much to keep our shores safe 24/7.
Image Credits: Kt Bruce .