Long Service & Distinguished Actions Recognised at Annual Dinner Dance

Happisburgh Lifeboat Station looked back at 2016 with the awards and dinner dance held at Royal Hotel Mundesley on Saturday 4th March 2017.

Eighty people attended the dinner dance.  After the meal the main purpose of the evening was to look back at 2016 before the band ‘Don’t Ask’ took to the stage. The evening raised £ 353.00 through the Raffle and Auction for the RNLI.

Happisburgh R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Station volunteers were called into action 11 times in 2016 plus 20 safety interventions, part of the RNLI Respect the Water campaign to reduce the number of deaths from drowning.  The callouts included everything from drowning, yachts in difficulty, unaccompanied inflatable beds/boats, dive boats and dogs in the sea. 

Charlotte Siely became helm of the Station’s Atlantic Lifeboat.

Peter Poll, Rita Poll and Philip Smith were honoured by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by being awarded the Institution’s Gold Badge for their service.

The shop had another great year with sales of £ 20,527 and our annual Lifeboat Day raised over £7000 with support from volunteers and the local community. 

Cubitt Siely (Senior), was one of 19 people from across the UK and Ireland represented the RNLI in the official Remembrance Sunday commemoration in London’s Whitehall on Sunday 13 November.

The Station decided that this year’s Kelvin Baker Achievement award should go to Cubitt Siely (Senior)

At midnight on the 22nd November 2016, Happisburgh RNLI Station saw the end of an era when Cubitt Siely retired from the crew after 38 year service, which is the maximum time any crew member can spend on the crew of an inshore lifeboat. In this time there has been 251 service launches saving 40 lives at Happisburgh.

Cubitt joined the crew at the start of the season in 1979, this was when Happisburgh Lifeboat only operated from Easter to October each year and only in daylight.

In the late 80s he was passed out as a Helmsman by the Divisional Inspector.  Cubitt has always taken a full part in the crew, working hard to improve on his own skills and help others do the same; in 1994 he was appointed to Senior Helmsman. There have been many changes over the years; the D Class Lifeboat operating all year round and 24hrs a day with improvement in equipment.

Another callout that sticks in his mind was to a Dive Boat 2.5 miles off the coast, which had lost nine divers.  Happisburgh Lifeboat was called, along with Cromer and Sheringham Lifeboats, Happisburgh Lifeboat being first on scene with Cubitt at the helm and they soon found seven of the divers and picked them up.  He recalled how tight it was to get all seven divers and equipment onto the D Class Lifeboat.  Cubitt coordinated the other lifeboats and helicopter and the other two divers were soon found and picked up by Sheringham Lifeboat before being taken to Sea Palling.  He remembers the great feeling of successful team work.

2009 brought the arrival of the Atlantic 75 on a two year trial, which in 2010 was made permanent.

Cubitt will be missed from the crew. The Siely name will still be on the crew list with his daughter Charlotte, who has just passed out as Helm of the Atlantic Lifeboat, living up to her father’s high standards.  She was joined by her brother on 16th November 2011, as soon as he turned seventeen; Cubitt junior is now working towards becoming a helm of the D Class lifeboat.

The Service Award for Memorable Service was awarded for the service on 23 July 2016

Happisburgh R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Station volunteers were called into action at 11:30am, when the pagers sounded.  Two crews were on Station and afloat by 11:40am.  The Spirit of Berkhamsted, the Station’s D Class, with Charlotte Siely at the helm and Tim Grimmer and Martin Gibbs as crew and the Atlantic 75 (Joan Mary) with Tony Phenix as helm and Will Baker and Gabby Hawker as crew.

Reports were that two people had been pulled unconscious from the sea at Sea Palling with unknown other casualties.

The D Class arrived 9 minutes later between Reefs 3 & 4, Sea Palling and the boat was run ashore and all the crew went to the aid of the 2 unconscious casualties.  The Atlantic searched the sea for any other persons in the water before putting Tony Phenix ashore to help with casualties.  There was one unconscious male, but breathing; the second male was also unconscious but not breathing for himself.  There was an off-duty doctor and fireman working together with RNLI Lifeguards, trying to preserve life.  There were two other minor casualties with ? ’near drowning’ symptoms also being attended to.

An Air Ambulance landed on the beach and worked with the Lifeboat crew, then the Humber Coastguard helicopter landed, followed by a second Air Ambulance with Coastguards and other emergency services.

The unconscious, but breathing casualty was taken by Air Ambulance to Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.  The two casualties with ‘near drowning’ symptoms were taken by Ambulance to hospital.  The other casualty was transferred to an Ambulance by Happisburgh D Class.

2017 will see the arrival of two new boats at Happisburgh, a new Atlantic 85 named Howard Bell B-899, which will mean lots of training for our helms and crew.  Then a new D-Class lifeboat, Russell Pickering D-813, will arrive later in the summer.

Interested in becoming a crew member?

The charity welcomes people from all walks of life and no previous sea-going experience is needed to join the lifeboat crew. The RNLI provides fantastic training to turn ordinary people into lifesavers. By volunteering with the RNLI people will gain some great experience, knowledge and skills.

Happisburgh RNLI are always looking for new volunteers to help run the lifesaving service.  If you are aged 17 or over, physically fit, work or live within 10 minutes of the lifeboat station and eager to join a lifesaving organisation then please come by and say hello.

Volunteers meet every Sunday morning and Tuesday evening. To find out more visit one of our recruitment events on 18th March & 28th March.