Good news in Swanage Lifeboat Week as cliff fall woman recovers

Despite accidentally falling 60 feet from the top of the cliff at Old Harry Rocks onto a shingle beach, Swanage Lifeboat crew were delighted to hear that their swift action has helped the 65 year old woman make a good recovery.

This welcome news comes in Swanage Lifeboat week, when normally the lifeboat station holds lots of fundraising events to raise vital income to support its lifesaving work.


Funds still need to be raised this year

However the rescue in July 2020, which saw the lifeboat reaching the woman first, highlights that funds still need to be raised this year for it to continue saving lives. So this year, there have been a number of virtual events happening online and promoted on social media. Lifeboat Coxswain Dave Turnbull said:

“We decided that we would go ahead with a virtual lifeboat week, so that we could engage with our supporters and give them a chance to find out more about what we have been up to and the work of the RNLI.”

Swanage Lifeboat
J M Alcock

“The lady is expected to make a good recovery”

Deputy second Coxswain, Gavin Steeden explained more about Swanage Lifeboat crew’s recent rescues:

‘In the run up to this week, we had one of the busiest weeks on record, launching multiple times to a wide variety of incidents including a number of serious medical incidents.

“We spent a lot of time on the water, but this actually helped us with quickly reaching the serious medical incident at Old Harry Rocks, as we were already on the water returning from an earlier rescue. The lady had fallen from the cliffs and we were able to put the lifeboat crew on the scene within less than 10 minutes to help evacuate the casualty.

“We received a message of thanks from the paramedic and have since been told the lady is expected to make a good recovery, which is great news.”

Swanage Lifeboat ILB

Facing a dramatic reduction in income

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the operation of many organisations and the RNLI has been no different in having to continue to cover its costs, while facing a dramatic reduction in income due to the forced cancellation of fundraising events.

Certainly the requirement for the lifeboat crew to be on standby during lockdown was underlined, when three men from Slough got cut off by the tide at Old Harry Rocks. While one was able to swim to the shore and call for help, the other two were left clinging to the rocks as the sea surrounded them.

Swanage Lifeboat crew launched just before 8pm on Thursday 7th May 2020, as the town prepared to Clap for the NHS. They were all safely rescued.

People rescued from Old Harry by Swanage Lifeboat crew
Swanage Coastguard
Swanage lifeboat launches during clap for key workers
Rebecca Mack

Men who’d been cut off by the sea at Old Harry Rocks were rescued by the lifeboat crew in May 2020, while Swanage residents were Clapping for the NHS

“Saved the lives of those who would have died without our help”

As lockdown eased, lots of people headed to the beach, with many taking to the water with little previous experience. Dave Turnball said:

‘It has been a strange year. Although we have remained fully operational, we’ve had to make many changes to ensure we can operate safely in the current conditions.

“Whilst we were very quiet during the lockdown period, we’ve been exceptionally busy during the last couple of months and have already attended 45 callouts this year, several of which have saved the lives of those who would have died without our help.”

The virtual version of Swanage Lifeboat Week may not be quite the same but some popular events have happened in an online format including the build a boat buoyancy challenge and the lifeboat quiz.

Tonight, Saturday 15th August 2020, the local band, Galaxy Thief will be performing an online gig at 7.30 pm and tomorrow Sunday 16th August 2020, the annual lifeboat church service will be online at 6.30 pm.

Swanage Lifeboat crew standing outside the Lifeboat house

Record numbers of visitors to its social media pages

By the nature of the week being virtual, Swanage Lifeboat Station has been a lot more active on social media and it has received record numbers of visitors to its social media pages.

Volunteer lifeboat crew member, Becky Mack said:‘

“A main aim of our virtual week was to give people an insight to what we do, so we have been making short videos from our rescue footage, including some of our recent callouts, to show people what we have been up to.

“My 11 year old cousin, Christian, has been visiting Swanage this summer. He really enjoys making animations, so I asked if he would make one for Swanage Lifeboat Week. He had seen me running off to rescues numerous times and this inspired him to create an animated rescue film.

“The animation has received our largest ever response on social media and I’m so proud of the time and effort he put in to help us with our lifeboat week.”

Lifeboat crew saying Thank You

“We hope that we will inspire people to donate when they can.”

To continue to support Swanage Lifeboat Station, the crew are urging everyone to follow their social media channels and to donate what they can. Dave Turnbull said:

“We’re conscious that people may not be able to donate to us as they usually would, given the current situation, but we hope that by raising awareness we are keeping people safe on the water and that we will inspire people to donate when they can.”


To donate go to Swanage Lifeboat’s Just Giving website

More information

To find out further about Virtual Swanage Lifeboat Week events including the band, Galaxy Thief’s online gig, visit Swanage Lifeboat Station’s Facebook page


This is 11 year old Christian’s animation made specially for this year’s Virtual Swanage Lifeboat Week

11 year old Christian has created this amazing animation for ‘virtual’ Swanage Lifeboat Week.

11 year old Christian has created this amazing animation for ‘virtual’ Swanage Lifeboat Week.After watching his cousin, volunteer lifeboat crew member Becky Mack, running off to the sound of the pager and seeing the lifeboat launch, Christian was inspired to see if he could recreate what he saw. 36 hours and 806 photos later, this is the result! Volunteer lifeboat crew member Becky Mack said ‘I’m so proud of what Christian has created. From seeing first-hand the work of the RNLI volunteers in Swanage he has used the experiences of everything he has seen to make this animation. As Swanage Lifeboat Week is virtual this year, this is the perfect tribute to our week!’

Posted by Swanage Lifeboat Station on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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