Young Welsh volunteer to officially open new RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat Centre
The honour of officially opening the RNLI’s new All-Weather Lifeboat Centre at the charity’s headquarters in Poole this Friday (21 August) will fall on the shoulders of the two youngest qualified all-weather volunteer lifeboat crew in the Institution
One of these is 20-year-old Caryl Jones, who lives in Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd, and is a volunteer crew member with Porthdinllaen RNLI.
Caryl, whose family has had close ties with Porthdinllaen RNLI for more than two decades, has been a crew member since she joined in 2012, aged 17. She recently completed the last of her training.
Her father Lewis has been an RNLI lifeboat crew member for 25 years, her grandfather and mother are involved in the local coastguard and her younger brother Cai, 18, is following in her footsteps and has joined the Porthdinllaen crew and is going through his training. Two of her cousins and an uncle are also on the Porthdinllaen RNLI lifeboat crew.
Speaking ahead of her departure to RNLI HQ in Poole, Caryl, who works as a teaching assistant, said: ‘I completed all my assessments with the lifeboat and I’m really looking forward to officially opening the new All-Weather Lifeboat Centre.
‘The RNLI has a big place in my heart and my family’s hearts. My mum and dad are so proud of what I will be doing on Friday and I can’t believe I have been asked to open the new centre – I’m so excited.
‘I was always around the station when I was younger and admired the job done by the crew and I always said to myself I was going to be part of that as soon as I could.
'I joined at the same time as a few of my friends – mostly lads – but I’ve overtaken them and completed all of the training first.’
Caryl will be joined in opening the new facility by 18-year-old John McDermid, lifeboat volunteer crew member at Arranmore RNLI in Ireland. Both Caryl and John will ring a bell as the doors rise and the All-Weather Lifeboat Centre is declared officially open. The bell will then be rung every time a newly built RNLI all-weather lifeboat is launched for the first time.
RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier will address the gathering and Phil Coulter’s Lifeboat Anthem ‘Home from the Sea’ will be played to mark the occasion.
The All-Weather Lifeboat Centre was commissioned by RNLI trustees to meet future all weather lifeboat supply. Its completion will secure a supply of All-weather lifeboats for future generations of lifesavers. It is expected that the All-Weather Lifeboat Centre will save the charity in excess of £3m a year once the facility is fully up and running.
The newly built centre will see production, maintenance and refit of the charity’s all-weather lifeboat fleet performed in-house and under one roof for the first time in the charity’s 191-year history.
RNLI Head of Construction and Refit Angus Watson added: ‘We are very proud to be officially opening The All-Weather Lifeboat Centre. It is an impressive facility which will allow the charity to build six Shannon-class lifeboats a year and maintain our other all-weather boats. Having a state of the art facility which will see the charity produce, maintain and refit all-weather lifeboats in-house and under one roof is a first for the charity.’
The building itself includes some impressive features including: 3 spray booths used to apply primer, coats of paint and antifoul to the lifeboats, Moveable platforms which will improve ergonomics and efficiency for accessing fit-out and refit lifeboats and a visitors centre allowing members of the public to watch the charity’s lifeboats being built. In addition to this PV panels on the roof of the ALC combined with the PV provision on the rest of the RNLI campus means that up to 8% of the RNLI’s energy requirements can be provided by the sun.