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Your legacy will be much more than a gift in your Will

After 24 years on a lifeboat crew, you have many memorable shouts. There’s the freezing cold callout at 2am, the tough trek through mountainous waves, and the shout that saves someone’s life. We can only carry out these rescues with the help of our supporters.


I’d like to share one of the most unforgettable shouts from our crew at Douglas, Isle of Man, with you. This one didn’t involve treacherous seas or high winds. It involved our family. Our children.

A gift in your Will could provide the training, kit and lifeboats that keep a crew member safe whenever they are called upon to rescue someone.

It was last March. And the call came just before midnight. As soon as the pagers sounded, my son Philip and I leapt from our beds and headed straight for the station to launch Douglas’s all-weather lifeboat, Sir William Hillary. We were joined by two more lifeboat families at the station: Peter Washington and his daughter Lavinia, and Tony Radcliffe and his son Robert.

We’d been tasked by the Coastguard to search for a missing person. We launched and were quickly on the scene to illuminate the cliff base for the Coastguard helicopter flying overhead. The Coastguard found the casualty at the foot of the cliffs, so we launched the inflatable daughter boat aboard the Sir William Hillary – this would help us get closer to the shore and administer first aid if we needed to.

Lavinia was first to volunteer to row the inflatable dinghy ashore – and I went with her as the second crew member. When Peter, Lavinia’s dad, saw her climb over the rails to the dinghy, he must have thought: ‘What have I done?’ She was just 19 years old and Peter didn’t know what she was going to see – all we knew was that the casualty had fallen off the cliffs. His unease would have only lasted for a split second. Our training and equipment are second-to-none, and we’re very confident in each other’s abilities.

I know that after I retire, the next generation of volunteers will be there to continue our legacy.

After we reached the shore, we decided the best course of action would be for the coastguard to recover the person back up the cliffs. Once the casualty was safe, Lavinia and I returned to the lifeboat. This was the first time all three families have had a shout together. I’ve been on a dozen shouts with my son Philip but as I’m a mechanic and usually below deck, I don’t see much of him.

I have complete confidence in the whole crew, because we have everything we need to do our jobs and save lives at sea. But we can only do that because of public support, including gifts left to the RNLI in Wills. I think it’s incredible that your legacy can live on and help save lives in the future. I know that after I retire, the next generation of volunteers like Philip, Lavinia and Robert will be there to continue our legacy.

Gifts in Wills help us continue this lifesaving work. Once you have looked after your loved ones I do hope you can consider leaving a gift in your Will to the RNLI. It could provide the training, kit and lifeboats that keep a crew member safe whenever they are called upon to rescue someone.

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