All action at RNLI Rye Harbour

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Joseph Brown with the crew and RNLI assessor Carl Beardmore

New helm qualifies

Following an assessment on Wednesday June 26 at Rye Harbour, Joseph Brown passed out as the newest helm for the Rye Harbour Inshore Lifeboat.

Joseph has lived in Rye Harbour all his life and joined the Royal Navy in 2008. Earlier this year he was promoted to Leading Seaman, a role that comes with many responsibilities. His father, Steve Brown, senior launcher and recently-qualified tractor driver, has been involved with the RNLI for over 30 years and his mother has volunteered for over 40 years so the RNLI is certainly in his DNA.

It takes hundreds of hours of committed training and practice to reach the exacting standards needed to become a fully qualified helm. It also requires a whole team of shore crew and sea-going crew behind you so that the boat can actually launch. All members of the RNLI Rye Harbour station gave 100 per cent support to Joseph and are proud of his well-earned achievement.

Joseph summed up the whole experience: “The process of getting to the stage where I was ready to pass out has taken seven years of learning, training and gaining experience. Everyone at the station played a part in my journey and I thank them for all their loyal support.To pass out felt amazing and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do in the RNLI and in my normal job in the Royal Navy. It had been a goal of mine to become helm in the RNLI and I have succeeded. I could not be happier.’

Launch-tractor operators – vital team members

Congratulations are also due to three newly-qualified RNLI tractor drivers who passed their final assessments on June 24. They have worked hard to achieve this and everyone at the station is proud of them.

Paul Anderson, Steve Brown and John Rodgers all passed out successfully

The role of the Tractor Driver is to take charge of the launch vehicle and rig during the launch and recovery of the ILB (Inshore Lifeboat) for services and exercises under the direction of the Head Launcher or Helmsman; to maintain competence under Competency Based Training (CoBT); and to contribute to the operational efficiency of the station, lifeboats and equipment. It is a vital role because the boat cannot launch without a tractor driver and the equipment must maintained to a high standard at all times.

Paul Watling, Assessor/Trainer Plant & Machinery, said at the end of the long, demanding day: “It was a great success with most importantly safe, competent drivers. Rye Harbour was a very welcoming station and all the crew gave their support in the evening to ensure that all the tests could be passed.”

Paul Anderson remarked that he had gained a great deal of knowledge and had felt supported by his fellow volunteers at the station, while Steve Brown commented that they had all learnt new skills which will be passed on to the team.

John Rodgers was the third member to pass and said: “It was a long day with quite a few challenges which we worked through successfully. It was great to feel supported by the whole team, especially the boat crew who were vital in launching the boat three times so each of us could be assessed. A new recruit, Lucy, stayed throughout the day making us coffee and keeping us motivated.”

Raising money from all points of the compass

On Tuesday June 25 in bright morning sunshine local character John Newson, vintage motorcycle enthusiast and charity fund-raiser, set off from the boathouse to a chorus of cheers from crew-members and villagers.

Rye Harbour station gives John a good send off

He was riding his pride and joy, the 1954 Series C Vincent Rapide that he has restored, and was flanked by old school-friends and well-wishers on their motorbikes. His quest, spread over 12  days, is to go as far north, east, west and south as he can in mainland UK, raising money for the RNLI. Already the total on his JustGiving page has topped £1,000 and he is grateful for the support he has received, especially from “Doris’s” (the Red Lion pub in Snargate), the Vincent Owners’ Club, the Wakefield Masonic Lodge in Hythe and many other local hostelries.

“I have been really pleased by the way my friends and people in the area have got behind this idea,” John said. “I am looking forward to riding this beautiful machine up and down the country in aid of the RNLI volunteers who are ready day and night to help those in difficulties in the water. As I’ve found, this is a charity close to many people’s hearts.”

Image Credits: Paul Bolton , Kt Bruce .

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