All posts by Phil Smith

Crew Launch to evacuate Casualty at Ostend

Happisburgh RNLI Volunteers put the Casualty Care training to good use this afternoon Sunday 2nd September.

At 2:20pm the pagers went off; Humber Coastguard had requested our help to evacuate an 89 year old lady who had fallen on the beach at Ostend, north of the station.

D-Class,  D – 813  “Russell Pickering” was the first to be launched to her aid with Tim Grimmer as helm and Martin Gibbs as crew, at 2:25pm followed by the Atlantic 85,      B – 899  “Howard Bell” with Charlotte Siely at the helm and Jake Munday and Mark Defraine as crew. The D-class arrived on scene and beached on the Ostend ramp before attending the patient with the Atlantic dropping its crew ashore to help. The crew joined the Paramedic on scene then Bacton Coastguard and Mundesley fire service arrived. After the patient was assessed and packaged into a lifeboats basket stretcher she was moved off the beach into a house to await the arrival of an ambulance to take her to Hospital. Both Lifeboats were stood down and returned to station at 4:20pm.

Once the lifeboats had returned to station the crew were called back into action this time to Cart Gap ramp where a lady in her fifty’s had taken a fall over a dog and injured her knee on the ramp. Their casualty care was put into practice again; the patient being assessed and unable to move her leg, was given oxygen before being put in the station’s second basket stretcher and moved into the station for care to carry on while awaiting the arrival of the Ambulance to transport to hospital.

The crews are always pleased to put their skills into practice when they are called upon. After all this the volunteers still had both boats to sort, refuel and make ready for service finally finishing at 6:45pm.

The RNLI would like people old or young to take care when on the beach or getting to or from the beach as many access routes are uneven and may cause you to lose balance and fall.

Main Article Image – B Class Atlantic 85 Howard Bell crew boarding to launch for Ostend

Inset Article Image – D-Class Russell Pickering launching for Ostend


Crew Paged Twice in 24 Hours

Happisburgh volunteers were called into action on the 22nd August at 2:30pm along with Mundesley Lifeboat to reports of an inflatable drifting out to sea off Bacton.

The station Atlantic Howard Bell was lunched with Tim Grimmer at the helm, Sean Thurston and Mark Defraine as crew. On arrival off Bacton they joined Mundesley Lifeboat who had the three occupants on board safe and well.

Mundesley lifeboat took them ashore and Atlantic Lifeboat Howard Bell returned to station.

Jon Oxenham, Community Safety Product Manager for the RNLI advises, ‘Inflatables aren’t designed for the beach, and it is easy to find yourself quickly swept out to sea.

‘If you do choose to use them, we would like to remind people that they’re used near the shore and only between the red and yellow flags on lifeguarded beaches and to ensure their children are safely supervised. Never take inflatables out in big waves, and never use them when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates offshore winds which will blow inflatables further out to sea.

‘Whenever you take to the sea we recommended that you and your children wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This will provide the necessary flotation should the inflatable suffer a puncture or similar.’

Happisburgh volunteers were again called into action for the second time in 24 hours on 23rd August at 11:10am to the aid of a small catamaran which had lost its mast. When RNLI Happisburgh’s Tim Grimmer and Martin Gibbs arrived on station the Catamaran was almost on the beach so they geared up to help recover the catamaran ashore where all returned safely.

The Lifeboat was not launched during this incident.

Photo credit: Happisburgh Coastwatch


Highlights of our Most Successful Lifeboat Day & Jetski Rescue

Early in the morning on Sunday 5th August 2018, the Station members and friends went into action to prepare for the annual Fete and Lifeboat Day, everyone worked hard to get everything set up in the hot morning sun. But come midday everything was ready and the fete was opened and hundreds of people swarmed onto the site, enjoying the BBQ, beer tent, stalls, cakes, teas, games, raffle, tombola and RNLI Shop and lots more. Music was provided by “The Shambolics”.

There was an opportunity to meet the Lifeboat crew, the Community Safety Team, the RNLI’s Face to Face team, the Coastguards and the Newfoundland Rescue Dogs and then watch displays by Happisburgh’s lifeboats – the Atlantic 85 ‘Howard Bell’ and the D Class, ‘Russell Pickering’ and Cromer’s Tamar, ‘Lester’ and the Newfoundland Rescue Dogs.

The weather for this special day couldn’t have been better and there was a large crowd assembled on the slipway to watch the displays.  The Newfoundland Rescue Dogs are now a firm favourite with the spectators.

As the Lifeboats were returning to Station, after the exercise, the crew were made aware of a Jet Skier who had fallen from his craft just South of the Station.  The Station’s D Class, ‘Russell Pickering’ was re-launched at 4pm with Christian Larter as helm, Jake Munday, Martin Gibbs, Sean Thurston and Sean Furguson as crew. It arrived on scene within minutes to find a 43 yr old male who had made his own way to shore, suffering chest and ankle pain.  He was assessed by the crew, who contacted the Coastguard for assistance.  The casualty was moved to Cart Gap Lifeboat Station where he was monitored until the arrival of the Ambulance, which transported him to A & E.  This was the first call-out for Happisburgh Station this year.

The Fete raised £8258.62 on the day to enable the Station to carry on its work of saving lives at sea.  We would like to thank everyone who attended and gave generously and all the volunteers who helped make the day such a success. We had special presentations from the Trafalgar Branch of the Oddfellows and from Eric John Goleby in memory of his wife Sally Ann.

The team would also like to thank  the sponsors for the beer who were Chris Batt, Rob Ferguson, Bob Mann,  A J electrics and MKM building Merchants whilst also giving thanks to Jules, Kate, and Bill for all their hard work on the day alongside all of our excellent volunteers.

Lifesaving training given to staff at the Riverside retail complex

RNLI Happisburgh’s own Coastal Safety Officer Bob Mann joined fellow RNLI officers, Coastguard officials, Firemen and Police Broadsbeat at Riverside, Norwich on the Wensum river for a training exercise.

The lifesaving training was being given to staff at the Riverside retail complex, who swatted up on how to keep their customers safe if they ever fell into the water.

The training on June 19 started with a talk from RNLI Community Safety Partner Nick Ayers, who taught staff from the likes of Wetherspoons and the Hollywood Bowl, how to throw a bag of rope to a person in distress.

Mr Ayers said: “This is a pilot trial, happening here and in Somerset. Our research shows that for every 100 businesses that receieve this training, it saves the equivalent of one life.

“The training is completely free of charge, and participants are given a throw bag for free at the end of every session to keep under their bar.”

Ann Mitchell is the general manager of the Riverside complex. She said: “It’s so important for us to have this training because we are an entertainment park. If people have a drink too many they think it’s a good idea on a warm day to go for a swim, and they don’t realise the dangers of what’s in there.”

She added: “The training has been fantastic. It’s really simple and anyone can do it, and it could save someone’s life. It’s simple lessons like learning not to panic, and to check the area before kneeling down and trying to help.”

“We are delighted to be involved in this ongoing project which will train people in local businesses to know how to help in emergency situations.”

Be someone’s lifeline: Know how to use a throw bag! We’ve all seen them while walking along the coast or a river: throw bags and life rings. They may seem like simple pieces of public rescue equipment, but for someone who has fallen in the water they are a lifeline. So would you know how to use one? Find out more here

For media credits and to read the original article follow the link here

Crew Celebrate Another Year of Achievement and Bid Farewells

Happisburgh Lifeboat Station looked back at 2017 with the awards and dinner dance held at Royal Hotel Mundesley on Saturday 17th February 2018 .

Over one hundred people attended the dinner dance.  After the meal the main purpose of the evening was to look back at 2017 before the band ‘Don’t Ask’ took to the stage. The evening raised £654.00 through the Raffle and Auction for the RNLI.

Happisburgh R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Station volunteers were called into action 11 times in 2017 plus 18 safety interventions, part of the RNLI Respect the Water campaign to reduce the number of deaths from drowning.  The callouts included everything from search for Drugs, swimmers ditched Hang glider, boats and dogs in the sea. Overall this lead to two lives being saved.  

We said ‘goodbye’ to  former LOM Cedric Cox after fifty years service to station, Helm Tony Phenix who stood down from crew after twelve years, David Cato who stood down from Crew after six years and Sally Smith who stood down as Treasurer after seven years, Not forgetting The Spirit of Berkhamsted, the station’s D Class Lifeboat after fourteen year on station.

We said ‘Welcome’ to Sean Thurston, Daniel Bunting, David Loveday, Mark Jarvis, Ian Rillie, John Holsworth, as crew and shore crew, Jim Page (Treasurer), Tany Blackburn (Souvenir shop).

Cubitt Siely has taken over Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Two new Lifeboats arrived on station, Atlantic 85 Howard Bell in May and D Class Russell Pickering in September. Both were named on station on 7th October 2017. 

The Kelvin Baker Achievement Award is in memory of Kelvin Baker who was a leading member of the Lifeboat, well respected for his professionalism and boat handing skills as a helmsman. He was taken from us on 17th March 2008, nearly 10 years ago.

Kelly you are not forgotten and the Kelvin Baker achievement award lives on in your memory promoting the commitment and professionalism we like to think he would have approved of.

The Station decided that this year’s Kelvin Baker Achievement award should go to Charlotte Siely

This was for all her extra work on station; she has been on the crew for eight years and has progressed to Helm of both station’s lifeboats.  In 2017 she took control of the station recruitment campaign which was successful with four new crew and two new shore crew being signed up. Then she stepped into the Chair of the Fundraising Committee with a very successful Lifeboat day in August. As well as crew at Happisburgh she also helps crew the Gravesend Lifeboat, and even this week she has been on an Assessor Course in Newhaven to be able to help with training of crew on Station.  How she fits all this in as well as work and home life is a mystery.

The award was presented by Jane Baker, Kelvin’s widow.

The Service Award for Memorable Service was awarded for the service on 19 July 2017

Happisburgh R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Station volunteers were called into action on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th July.  The pagers sounded at 3:15pm for reports of a broken down jet ski off the coast at Waxham, drifting out to sea.

Happisburgh Atlantic, Howard Bell, was on its way at 3:25pm with Tim Grimmer at the helm and Sam Gillard and Martin Gibbs as crew; the Coastguard tasked them to search from Sea Palling towards Winterton. The Jet ski had left Sea Palling an hour before the callout.

The sea conditions were rough when the Lifeboat arrived off Waxham; the Coastguard from Winterton could see the jet ski from the top of the sand dunes so they were able to guide the Lifeboat crew to the jet ski which was now one mile off the coast.  Both persons on the jet ski were uninjured so their craft was towed back to Sea Palling arriving at 4:12pm, where, with the help of the RNLI Lifeguards the jet ski and crew were landed on the beach and looked after by the Lifeguards.  Without the intervention of the lifeboat 2 lives could have been lost.

Howard Bell then returned to station at 4:28pm and had to do a net recovery due to the rough sea at Happisburgh. The Lifeboat was made ready for service again.

It takes a whole team effort to launch the Lifeboat, not just crew.  The shore crew were Bob Mann Steve Poll, Mike Forsdick, Eddy Askew, Cubitt Siely, Rob Ferguson, Cedric Cox and Justin Arnold, not forgetting the RNLI Lifeguards Sea Palling.


Crew launch to rescue Spaniel Rosie

Happisburgh Volunteers were call into action at 12:05 pm an eight year old Spaniel was reported going into the sea  and was subsequently taken out to sea.  The dog’s owner, Rachel Grey, called for help and Happisburgh’s D Class ‘Russell Pickering’ was launched with Jake Munday at the helm and Martin Gibbs as crew; they picked up Rosie, the spaniel, 500 metres off the beach.  She was returned to the beach to be reunited with owner, Rachel.

Lifeboat ‘Russell Pickering’ was re-housed and made ready for service.

We would like dog owners whose dogs get swept out to sea to call the Coastguard and ask for the Lifeboat; we are happy to save a dog and rather then having to search for a missing owner.


Launch Tractor Bog Down Tests Training & Equipment

On Sunday 10th December 2017, when the stations Atlantic 85 had been launched on its normal Sunday morning exercise the launching tractor became stuck in soft sand do to the recent storms, this is known as a bog down.

The driver shut down and tractor and made his way safely to shore, the stations Atlantic 85 made its way to Gorleston to be moored at Gorleston Lifeboat station. Today 12th December 2017 with the help of a recovery tractor the station tractor was recovered from the sea this morning at low water, the station tractor was found to be dry inside and after routine check should be back on service by the end of the week, the launching trailer has not suffered any major damage from its 48hrs in the north sea.

Tractors become bogged down from time to time, the drivers are fully trained and as  shown from this is able to be successfully recover the tractor and trailer with both being able to be put back into service.

This shows the high stands of both equipment and training the RNLI have to enable its volunteers to carry out their role of saving life’s at sea.

The stations Atlanic 85 will return to station once tractor and trailer have been checked over the D Class Lifeboat has been on service and ready for action,

Relating article and media credits here

Joe the dog rescued from beach after falling down cliff

A dog which had fallen down a north Norfolk cliff was reunited with his relieved owner thanks to a rescue by local lifeboat and coastguard crews.

The spaniel, called Joe, and his owner Anne were walking near Manor Caravan Park when Joe landed on the beach, with no way to get back, on Saturday afternoon (November 25).

The Happisburgh and Mundesley Coastguard Rescue Team was called in to help.

Pete Revell, from the Coastguard, said: “The dog was stuck on the beach and the owner was frantically trying to get to the dog, but because there was no access in that area, she couldn’t get down to the beach.

“We were tasked with looking after her safety so that she didn’t attempt to go down the cliff, and we were also contemplating how to get the dog.”

Mr Revell said it was decided to involve the RNLI’s Happisburgh Lifeboat Station. The station’s D Class Russel Pickering launched at around 1.40pm – its first call out since it arrived at the station in September .

Mr Revell said: “One crew member went onto the beach, they got the dog on a leash and walked it through the surf to its owner.

“Anne had just moved to Happisburgh, and she was just going for the first of many dog walks.

“It was one she won’t forget.”

An RNLI spokesman said: “The lifeboat launched with Tim Grimmer at the helm and Charlotte Siely, Martin Gibbs and Sam Gillard and went to the beach at the Manor Caravan Park. The lifeboat was beached and Martin Gibbs was put ashore and was able to get the dog and walk it along the beach to be reunited with its owner. Anne.

“Martin was then picked up and Russell Pickering returned to station and back on service.”

Original article available here.

Supporters welcomed to naming and dedication of the station’s new Atlantic 85 and D Class Lifeboats.

Happisburgh Lifeboat volunteers welcomed 200 of our supporters to the station for the naming and dedication of the station’s new Atlantic 85 and D Class Lifeboats. Special guests were Terry Baker, representing the Howard family and Beryl Pickering, representing the Pickering family; these being the donors whose generosity has funded these two lifeboats.

At 2:00pm Philip Smith (chairman of Happisburgh’s Lifeboat Management Group welcomed everyone to the Naming Ceremony.  Terry Baker (nephew of Howard Bell)  handed over the Atlantic 85 lifeboat to the RNLI followed by Beryl Pickering (mother of Russell Pickering) who handed over the D Class lifeboat.  These were accepted into the Institution by David Squire (RNLI Council Member) before then being handed over to Cubitt Siely (Happisburgh’s Lifeboat Operations Manager) and into the care of Happisburgh Lifeboat Station.

Our Honorary Chaplain, the Reverend Catherine Dobson, led the service of dedication.

Terry Baker was invited to formally name the Atlantic 85 ‘Howard Bell’ in memory of Howard and Maureen (Poppy) Bell, followed by Beryl Pickering formally naming the   D Class ‘Russell Pickering’ in memory of her son Russell Pickering.

Philip Smith then gave a vote of thanks to all the supporters and a huge thank you to Terry and the family of Howard and Poppy Bell and to Beryl and her family for attending and supporting Happisburgh Lifeboat Station. Thanks were also given to Fakenham Town Band for their excellent music at the ceremony.

Then both Lifeboats were launched with the crew giving a demonstration of both boat’s capabilities.

Everyone joined together for light refreshments in the boathouse to conclude the afternoon.

B Class B-899 Howard Bell

Howard and Maureen (Poppy) Bell

Howard and poppy had a great heart for the RNLI. After Howard’s eldest sister tragically drowned at Earlham’s Beach, Dovercourt in the early 1950’s Poppy and Howard set about raising funds for the RNLI; during their lives they raised vast sums of money.

In the 1960s they started fundraising on Fred Olsen cruise ships to encourage fellow guests to help the RNLI to save lives at sea. They enjoyed many happy years cruising and raising funds. Poppy was always knitting gloves and hats, plus making gifts for folk to buy.

Howard helped the RNLI at Harwich and then became Liaison Officer for Cromer and areas further down the coast. He received an MBE for his services to the RNLI.

Howard passed away on 31st October 2006. Shortly afterwards Poppy moved back to her beloved Dovercourt, from Norfolk. Still the RNLI was in her heart, and she continued to help and support them. Poppy passed away on 1st June 2012.

Howard’s and Poppy’s ashes were scattered at sea from the Harwich lifeboat.

In their wills they wanted to support the RNLI and through their generosity others will be helped in the future.

D Class D-813 Russell Pickering

Russell Pickering

As a long-standing member of the RNLI, the Pickering family would like to dedicate this Lifeboat in loving memory of our son and brother, Russell Pickering, who died 2 years ago from cancer at the age of 50. We believe he would approve of our decision as he had a lifelong interest in sailing and outdoor pursuits.




Crew launch to yacht in difficulty

UK Coastguard received a mobile phone call from a 8 meter yacht 5 miles off the coast off Happisburgh, taking in water and with no power. Happisburgh volunteer lifeboat crew were paged at 8:50pm and the the Station’s Atlantic Lifeboat, Howard Bell, was on her way at 9pm with Tim Grimmer on the helm and Charlotte Siely, Martin Gibbs and Sam Gillard as crew.

As the yacht had no working radio, due to no power, the location was hard to find but after putting up a white flair the crew located the yacht with one person on board,

Once alongside Martin Gibbs was transferred to the yacht with a salvage pump, once the pump was set up Martin attached the tow to the yacht.  Howard Bell then took the yacht in tow towards Yarmouth harbour.

When the crew entered the ‘Yarmouth Roads’ they were joined by Gorleston Lifeboat who took over the tow to take the yacht into the harbour.

Happisburgh Lifeboat then returned to Happisburgh arriving at midnight to be refuelled and made ready for service.

Tim Grimmer commented “the crew had to work together and this went like clockwork, each member had a job to do and the team worked well together”.

Tim – at the helm, Charlotte – radio and navigation, Martin – on the casualty, Sam – doing the tow on the Lifeboat.