Community unites to support volunteer lifesavers
VOLUNTEERS who support the oldest lifeboat station in the Outer Hebrides have been going the extra mile in and out the water.
The Stornoway branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. To help fund the service, a quiz, organised by Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies’ Guild (SLLG), was held in Stornoway Golf Club on March 17.
Ellen Macdonald from SLLG said: ‘It was a busy night and our thanks go to everyone who came along and the local shops and businesses which donated an excellent array of prizes for our raffle on the night.’
The event, which raised £ 852, coincided with the release of the official 2016 RNLI statistics. According to the RNLI, which has 237 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, volunteer crews spent a total of 228,869 hours at sea last year, helping more than 30,000 people.
Stornoway RNLI launched 27 times last year, rescuing 24 people and saving one life. Of those rescued, one person was under the age of 18. The volunteer crew and
Tom Sanderson, a Severn- class lifeboat, launched eight times in darkness during 2016 and three times in wind speeds over force seven, near gale.
Over the same time period, Barra Island RNLI crew spent 1,125 hours at sea. Aboard the Severn- class all-weather RNLI lifeboat Edna Windsor there were 19 launches – four in darkness and two in wind speeds over force seven. The crew rescued three people under the age of 18 and 22 over the age of 18. The crew spent 497 hours on service and 628 hours on exercise.
Will Stephens, the RNLI’s head of lifesaving, said: ‘Once again, we are extremely grateful for the dedication shown by our lifesavers.
‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews spent more than 228,869 hours at sea last year, but we really see our rescue service as a last resort. We’d really like to see people paying more attention to safety messages and giving the water the healthy respect it deserves. While we will always answer the call for help, myself and everyone within the RNLI would like to see people staying safer.’