For the last two centuries, lifeboats have been central to coastal communities, which know all too well what a dangerous neighbour the sea can be.
That knowledge helps to explain how Filey’s lifeboat service has endured since 1804 and why its vessels are regularly bought with local cash or legacies from those who had an attachment to the town.
Recent and current vessels – Filey’s station has two, built for different jobs – have been bought through legacies of those who have lived in, or had links with, the Filey area and from fundraising – which is why a new ‘D Class’ vessel will be named in honour of the Rotary Club, which helped to make its purchase possible.
The bravery and commitment of the volunteers who put their own lives at risk for the benefit of others is beyond doubt.
Through the history of the service in Filey, volunteers have been recognised with four medals, the most recent being an RNLI Bronze Medal, awarded to helmsman Michael Farline, for his actions in saving two swimmers at Reighton Sands in 2003.
During that rescue, the lifeboat almost capsized but tragedy was averted.
Two years earlier, third mechanic Richard Johnson won the Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate for helping to resuscitate a man who had been saved from the sea.
The reality of the risks volunteers face was highlighted in 1936, however, when crew member John Willis was run over by the lifeboat carriage and killed.
Volunteers are driven by a sense of duty and many names have been reflected through different generations on the lifeboat’s roster.
Currently there are around 28 crew members, including five women – with one of those an air-ambulance paramedic in her professional role.
Filey RNLI spokesman Robbie McKennan said volunteers came from all walks of life and were inspired to volunteer for many reasons: “Filey had a lifeboat 20 years before the formation of the RNLI and as far as Filey is concerned, the station is a major part of the community.
“The range of people who volunteer is diverse and I think part of the motivation for it is generational, while others do it because they feel they want to put something back.”
Putting something back has involved responding to 13 incidents since April this year, but it is not just the crews that contributes.
They could not operate without the support of those on shore and a wider infrastructure exists to keep the boats operational and the funds in place to ensure they are ready to respond.
Anyone interested in volunteering as shop volunteers, fund raisers or visits team should contact Caroline Kent, Chair of the Ladies’ Guild, via the shop or at email@example.com