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All aboard with Aldeburgh Lifeboat
The Aldeburgh crew certainly have some interesting stories to tell. Read on to find out more about the lifeboat station..
‘It’s rare that you'll find a lifeboat station around the country where two or more crew members don't come from the same family. Over the years here at Aldeburgh, we've been no different in that sense.’
Lee Firman came to Aldeburgh in 1994. Back then, his father became coxswain of the town’s lifeboat station, having transferred from Scarborough. Lee’s been full time on the crew for 6 years, and he’s now Coxswain himself. He represents the 4th generation of his family to take up a role within the RNLI.
Lee Firman and Steve Saint
His head mechanic is Steve Saint. Steve’s also spent time at Aldeburgh working alongside his dad. ‘You could say I grew up with it. Pops was full time here for 30 years and ever since I was a boy I always wanted to get involved and knew that one day I would. I joined the crew in 1989, and I've been the station’s full time mechanic for the last 3 years.’
Both men modestly state that life with the RNLI is ‘better than a real job.’ But a 12 hour day in gales of up to force 11 back in 1996 prove that life on the Suffolk Coast isn't always as quiet and calm as one might assume.
For their part in rescuing a group of Dutch schoolchildren from a broken down yacht 30 miles off shore, the crew at Aldeburgh were awarded the annual bronze medal award for gallantry.
Back then, speeds of up to 8 knots could be achieved at sea. But these days the 20 strong crew set sail on the RNLB Freddie Cooper. ‘Freddie can go twice as fast at 16 knots which is around 20 miles an hour,’ Steve enthuses.
Lee Firman gives the lifeboat a polish!
The boat takes its name from a Northamptonshire man who left a large sum of money to the station in his will, and as a charity, the RNLI is always looking to raise further funds.
‘Five years ago, we had enough cash reserves to keep us going for half a decade should the money stop coming in. Nowadays, we've only enough to last for 10 months.’ Coxswain Lee though refuses to be downbeat, ‘Our team of fundraisers are doing a great job though and have won praise this year in all areas. Membership of the RNLI is on the up.’
Long may that continue.
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 11:19