Mearns Probus Club

The second gathering of the club for June was held in the Crown Inn, Laurencekirk, with President Eric Bell chairing the meeting.

The two speakers were introduced, husband and wife team Richard and Carol Raeburn from the R.N.L.I. Carol is the daughter of club member Denholm Nelson and she was brought up at nearby Burnroot Farm.

A qualified solicitor, she and her husband met some 10 years ago when she moved to the R.N.L.I.

Based in Perth, where the Scottish Office of the R.N.L.I. is situated, the duo work as a team, attempting to educate and recruit future members of the Institution.

With the changes that have taken place in the fishing villages and towns around Scotland since the decline in the fishing industry it is becoming more difficult to guarantee a full complement of crew members.

In the past, generations of fishermen and women and their families provided most of the crews.

Training and recruitment were therefore necessary to ensure a future supply of dedicated and capable crews, and it was their task to assist with those requirements.

Founded in 1824, the R.N.L.I. have since rescued 143,000 people to date and, with the help from the Coastguards, cover all the seas around the U.K. from 230 lifeboat stations, 48 of those in Scotland.

One example given was 8905 launches in one year, a surprising statistic.

The types of rescue craft were discussed, the most expensive one costing around £2.4 million, but many areas are also covered by rigid inflatable boats which can be launched quickly and don’t require proper slipways and tractor-assisted launches. Emphasis was placed on the dangers of inshore pursuits leading to rescues, included were anglers stranded on rocks, beach and clifftop walkers and their pets, use of unsuitable dinghies, inflatables and even jet-ski craft all now regularly in use for leisure pursuits.

Types of life-jackets, cameras on helmets, better protective clothing and footwear are all necessary to provide rescue crews and all of this is expensive.

Funding for all this comes mostly from legacies, collections, R.N.L.I. shops, all of which are largely supported by volunteers and their families.

The R.N.L.I are a registered charity and are independent of Government. They are also separate from the Coastguard Service, but do work well together.

With two short videos shown and the information imparted by the husband and wife team, the club members enjoyed an interesting talk on a very valuable service.

Tom Fleming, had no hesitation on calling for members to thank Rick and Carol for an excellent presentation.