29 November 2023

Lifeboat charity ‘continues to go from strength to strength’

Hornsea Inshore Rescue has held its annual general meeting on the charity’s headquarters on the south promenade.

Chairman Sue Hickson-Marsay MBE presented her report, saying how well the organisation had recovered financially since Covid, which had left it very short of funds.

Thanks to the generosity of the charity’s supporters and the help of the local community, she said, the charity has found itself in a position to bring forward its five-year plan and go ahead with the purchase of one of the RNLI’s latest Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboats with all the necessary equipment including new engines of the latest design and specialised launching trailer. This would keep Hornsea Inshore Rescue at the forefront of lifeboat technology.

Sue thanked all the groups and individuals who had worked so hard to make this possible and
the hardworking crew and backroom volunteers who help the organisation working at such a high level.

Though the purchase of the new boat would poke a big hole in the finances, Sue said the continued and highly valued support would cover all ongoing expenses, and the development of the rooftop terrace at the Boat Launch should also bring in significant and much-needed funds if it all goes to plan.

Sue made special mention of the gansey project run by local woman Lorri Tolan and her team
of knitters from all over the country, who have now provided every crew member with a bespoke gansey – a fisherman’s traditional jumper – saying “they have made us all feel very special”.

Sue then went on to tell how the RYA training centre was going from strength to strength and thanked the crew members who had gained their instructors’ qualifications. She also mentioned recent national publicity for the charity, with leading coxswain Karl Shannon receiving the King’s Coronation Medal for volunteering and her own MBE, which she was so proud to receive on behalf of all those at Hornsea Inshore Rescue, without whom it would not have been possible.

Sue also hinted that National Bravery Medals would soon be awarded to some of the crew in recognition of a particularly dangerous rescue earlier this year.

She concluded: “I personally would like to thank the crew as always for putting their lives on the line. What we do is not for the faint- hearted, especially when the conditions are rough and dark.

“It comes with risk but of course you know that, and we have another year where people have been landed back ashore safely because of you. So, let’s look forward to another exciting year as Hornsea Inshore Rescue continues to go from strength to strength. Thank you all so much.”

Elections were then held for chairman, vice chairman and trustees/directors. As there were no additional nominations or resignations the motion was carried to return all the officers in one block vote.

The Keith and Linda Hodgkins Award for Crewman of the Year was then awarded to Carl Handley. Sue said it has been a particularly difficult choice as there were so many deserving candidates, but Carl had been an exceptional crewman and had enthusiastically taken on whatever role was asked of him. Though it was a very narrow decision, it was the right one, she said.

Carl said: “To win such a fantastic award with all these fantastic names on it, with all the unbelievable crew we have, is a real honour.”

The Polly Worsdale Award for Fundraiser(s) of the year was then presented to Elayne Greenhough and her team from Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat Supporters.

Presenting the award, Ian Worsdale said: “We have always wanted a team of people to get together and support us and after such a long time we now have that team.

“They have raised thousands of pounds over the few years since they started and it’s wonderful knowing we have such dedicated and hard- working people backing us. It is our supporters that enable Hornsea Inshore Rescue to flourish and keep saving lives.”

Elayne said: “I am so proud to accept this award on behalf of all the HILS team. It is a real team effort. I originally started the HILS in memory of my grandfather who served in the war as a naval officer on HMS Leviathan and HMS Victory.”

Hornsea Inshore Rescue is one of 65 independent lifeboat organisations around the country’s coast, all of which receive no funding from the Government or RNLI.

Running costs amount to £55,000 a year. Donations can be sent direct to the boathouse at Hornsea Burton Road HU18 1TJ, or online via justgiving.com/hornseainshorerescue.

Meanwhile, last Friday afternoon, representatives from Hornsea Inshore Rescue were invited to the Towbar Inn at Skirlington Leisure Park to receive a donation of £1,519.42.

Michelle Blair of the Towbar Inn said a group of women from the pub had been for a tour of the boathouse one Thursday evening when the crew were training and were so impressed that they decided they would raise funds for the charity.

Michelle added: “We never know when we might need you and it was only a month ago you rescued a man and his dog cut off by the tide just under our cliffs.”