Carrying on a family tradition

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More lifeboat crew qualify at Rye Harbour

Stuart Clark, a direct descendant of William and Leslie Clark who lost their lives in the Mary Stanford lifeboat disaster of 1928, passed out as a helm last week at Rye Harbour.

Having spent many hours, days and weeks training and learning, Stuart felt a huge sense of relief when Nathan Jauns, area lifesaving manager and trainer and assessor, congratulated him on having successfully passed the three hour assessment at sea.

Stuart said: “Now the hard work really starts. As helm there is a great deal of responsibility to shoulder and even more learning. Covid-19 put my assessment back by four or five months, but this just made me more determined to achieve my goal of becoming helm and I could not have achieved this without the support of everyone at the station.

“We all work well together and you know that when you are out at sea on the boat and on shore ‘they have got your back’. I think they are an inspirational crew to work and train with and we are all pulling in the same direction.

“I am lucky to be the business director of my own firm so I am able to be flexible in the hours that I can offer the RNLI. My family, Gemma, my wife, and my two children, Izzie and Noah, are very supportive. It has taken me just under two years to achieve my goal, starting as shore crew and working my way up to helm today.’

At the end of the assessment, Nathan observed: “Stuart showed good leadership and command throughout the three hour-long spell at sea. His passing out is due to his hard work and perseverance in these difficult times and the dedication of the whole crew at the station. He will be a great asset to the team.’

It was also a day of pass-outs for four more crew members who qualified as tractor drivers – Tim Dickinson, Iain Cebunka, Paul Lancashire and Paul Bolton.

Matt Parr, RNLI plant and machinery assessor and trainer from Ilfracombe, said that he really enjoyed his time at Rye Harbour where he had received a warm welcome. He found the team to be one which pulled together and gave mutual support willingly. He was impressed with the level of commitment and dedication to achieve such high standards in their training.

These pass-outs cannot happen without the support of the lifeboat operations manager (LOM) deputy launch authorities, shore crew and boat crew, some of whom had to take time off work to be there – and the buzz at the station on days like these is palpable and makes the LOM, Paul Bolton, very proud.

Image Credits: kt bruce .

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