Respect, admiration and awe – MP praises heroism of the RNLI

Local lifeboat crews and other RNLI volunteers were praised for their heroism and bravery when Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart, took part in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Mrs Hart said: “It is hard to put into words the respect, admiration and awe I have for the heroism of all the volunteers in our RNLI and lifeboat crews. I have been fortunate enough to visit the crews in Hastings and at Pett Level, all of whom have left me with a great sense of respect and security, that whenever anyone gets into difficulty at sea, they will be in safe hands from the volunteers of our local lifeboat crews.

“We all know too well in Hastings and Rye of the tragedies that happen along our coastline, we have seen this recently in Hastings, and a few years ago the tragic events in Camber. But every time someone is in need off our coastline the brave men and women of the RNLI and independent lifeboat crews will be there.”

In her speech, Sally-Ann made reference to two local lifeguard volunteers – Oliver Veness and James Blything, who earlier this year saved two boys off the coast of Hastings who got into difficulties.

Mrs Hart praised the pair for their swiftly actions, getting the boys back to shore and saving their lives: “Oliver and James’s actions were nothing short of heroic,” she said.

Lifeguards patrolling out beaches are part of the RNLI family.

In her speech Sally-Ann described their dedication to safety and protection of others saying: “In our everyday lives, heroism like that might be rare, but for those serving in the RNLI, heroism is an everyday occurrence.”

The Hastings and Rye constituency represented by Mrs Hart has dedicated crews and lifeguards stationed across the length of the coast from Camber and Rye Harbour in the East to Hastings in the West. These crews either form part of the RNLI family or are independent lifeboat stations, all of whom are dependent on the support of local people and fundraising efforts.

Mrs Hart says it is the independence from Government funding that gives the RNLI and other lifeboat crews the freedom to make decisions on their practices and functions, using local knowledge and best practice to provide the safest and best services to local residents and visitors, and she says keeping this independence is vital. However, in this Covid-19 environment, fundraising has been challenging, and so sourcing support and funding for these lifeboat crews is vital, she says.

“I want to thank all our lifeboat volunteers across Hastings and Rye on behalf of all the residents in our area. The work you, the lifeboat crews do, is truly inspiring and as your MP I will continue to support your work and do all I can to ensure the future is secure and bright for you all,” she concluded.

Main photo by Paul McCleery

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