Gorleston RNLI

Photographs of Gorleston lifeboat men in 2007

By Lauren Mccurdy

Profile of Neil Duffield: RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Gorleston Lifeboat Station

Neil Duffield is the Lifeboat Operations Manager for the RNLI lifeboat station in Gorleston. He has been a volunteer with the National Lifeboat Association for the past 30 years. His main job is being a hairdresser, but he is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the RNLI. When the coastguard is called he is the first person informed, and he is responsible for deciding whether to launch the lifeboat.

He says that the life boats have changed since he first started working for the RNLI, when he began the lifeboat was only capable of speeds of 12 knots, whereas now they can go to 95, and there are a lot more electronics onboard the lifeboat. At Gorleston they currently have a crew of 22 volunteer crewmen and Neil says: "the nature of the lifeboat man has changed quite dramatically. It used to be mainly seafarers, who worked at sea, whereas now, most of the lifeboat men come from what we call 'normal' jobs - butcher, builder, anything - but they receive in-house training over a period of 5 years to become first-class lifeboat men. They need to be technicians and seafarers as well".

Profile of Paddy Lee: RNLI Station Mechanic at Gorleston Lifeboat Station

Paddy Lee is the RNLI Station Mechanic at Gorleston lifeboat station.  He has been on the lifeboat crew for 24 years. He is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the lifeboat and boathouse, his typical day involves making sure the lifeboat is ready to go. If there is an emergency he is responsible for starting up and preparing the lifeboat.

He says: " I enjoy the comradeship - it's not all doom and gloom, we do have a laugh as well. We don't always go out in bad weather - sometimes it's on nice, pleasant days".

Profile of Steve Bartrum: Volunteer Coxswain at the RNLI Lifeboat Station in Gorleston

Steve Bartrum has been the volunteer coxswain at Gorleston lifeboat station for the last 18 years. His typical day consists of going to his regular job as a scaffolder, and waiting to get paged or hear from Neil if they have to launch.

He says: "as a station, we have had 62 launches over the past year - 45 on the inshore lifeboat, and 17 on the all-weather lifeboat. Some incidents we have tackled have included transferring a lorry-driver from a ferry, and we towed in a guard vessel in the offshore field, about 35 miles out to sea".

He hopes that the future of the lifeboat crew will remain stable and that people will keep applying to be volunteers so that the tradition can go on.

Photo:Portrait of S. Bartram, Coxswain of the Gorleston lifeboat crew, in the lifeboat shed

Portrait of S. Bartram, Coxswain of the Gorleston lifeboat crew, in the lifeboat shed

Martin Figura

Photo:Portrait of S. Bartram (Coxswain) and P. Lee (station mechanic) in the kit room

Portrait of S. Bartram (Coxswain) and P. Lee (station mechanic) in the kit room

Martin Figura

This page was added by Lauren Mccurdy on 27/04/2007.

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