Friday, 23 August 2013


On Sunday we paid a visit to the RNLI (ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION ) fund raising day in the fishing village of Porthleven on the South Coast near Helston.
The RNLI is a wholly charitable institution, and the whole of the UK is covered by their boats and Lifeguards solely by public donations. So this is one of many events around the country where the public can show their support and raise valuable funds for the service.
So what I have tried to show is a short pictorial of the days event with a few of the 189 images I took on the day, so I hope you will enjoy, and please next time you see the RNLI collectors around  drop a few schekals in their pots, and remember the people at the sharp end who risk their lives countless times throughout the year to help others.

Porthlevens famous landmark the clock tower on the edge of the sea.

The crowds showed in really good numbers on either side of the village.

The most popular attraction during the day was this small simulated life boat launch down the slipway into the harbour, I have never seen so many people happy to get a soaking.

On the harbour side a  youth Brass band played some traditional music which was very pleasant to the ears. A very talented group of youngsters.


Local children had great delight showing off their swimming skills by jumping off the walls.

They were watched very closely by the RNLI Lifeguards in their small surf ribs. 

And also by this gentleman on his jet ski.

Just after lunch the star of the day came to join the party, the RNLB 'IVAN ELLEN' arrived from her home port of Newlyn in Mounts Bay, also known as the Penlee Boat. Until around twenty five years ago the Penlee boat was based at Penlee Point between Newlyn and Mousehole, and was manned by a crew of Mousehole men. On the 19th December 1982 the following events took place here is an archive report from The People news paper.

The winds off England's Cornish coast were howling at gale force last Dec. 19. The 1,400-ton merchant ship Union Star, flying Irish colors on her maiden voyage, was struggling in 50-foot seas. Then her engines went dead. The ship, carrying a crew of four plus Capt. Henry Morton, his wife and two stepdaughters, began to drift toward the rocky shore. A nearby tugboat offered to help, but only in exchange for salvage rights (full or part ownership of vessel and cargo). Morton refused, perhaps still hoping to restart his engines. Within 90 minutes a Royal Navy helicopter attempted to haul up the eight people with a winch, but was driven off when winds reached 90 knots. By this time Captain Morton had called the tug, but it was no longer able to approach. Only one chance remained—a lifeboat rescue. 

So an emergency call went out to the nearby fishing village of Mousehole (pop. 1,200) and to the citizen members of its Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This is a nautical version of an American volunteer fire department. In the past 21 years volunteers at Mousehole's Penlee Lifeboat Station have rescued 91 seafarers. But this attempt, six days before Christmas, ended in a tragedy that has stirred all England. 

It began at 7:30 p.m. when Trevelyan Richards, 56, coxswain of the lifeboat Solomon Browne, fired a rocket that exploded over the town. The signal summoned his entire force of 16 volunteers. Richards picked seven men, ranging in age from 22 to 46, to join him on the mission. (By tradition, in very bad weather no two members of the same family are allowed on a rescue.) "It was just like any other launch," remembers Neil Brockman, 17, whose father, Nigel, was aboard. "They were all joking and laughing when they went out. They couldn't be serious about anything." 

When the 47-foot lifeboat reached the Union Star, the stricken vessel was temporarily secured by its anchor. But within minutes the anchor line apparently snapped. Mountainous waves turned the ship broadside, pounding it closer and closer to the rocks. With the vessel only 100 yards offshore, the Solomon Browne moved in close—only to be picked up by a wave, like a cork, and dropped onto the deck of the Union Star. The lifeboat slipped off into the churning sea but returned again, this time successfully picking up four people. By then the winds were so treacherous that the Royal Navy helicopter hovering nearby was forced to withdraw. The last view its pilot had was of the Solomon Browne attempting to make another pass at the ship. The lifeboat crew members, declared the helicopter pilot later, were "the bravest men I have ever seen." 

No one can say with certainty what happened next. There were no witnesses—and no survivors. The Union Star capsized, then was tossed on the rocks. The Solomon Browne was smashed to kindling. Only eight of the 16 bodies have been found—four from the Solomon Browne. The grieving citizens of Mousehole pulled the wreckage of the lifeboat onto a nearby slip. Among the first items found by Jim Madron, a fishing vessel skipper, was his son Stephen's hat. 

A scar that will never heal.

The crew were making the most of a very relaxing day, one of only a few they get when aboard.

Next came the Penlee inshore boat The PAUL ALEXANDER to excite the crowd with very fast tight maneuvers around the harbour.

The man in charge Coxwain 'Patch' who obviously knew someone in the crowd.

The speed bit.

This is the small two man rib that can be launched from the main boat when needed.

Everyone still enjoyed the party.

Next four of the ports working boats and their families came out for a bit of fun. This involved copious amounts of water.

All was well until someone threw a bucket of water at the Lifeboat crew (BAD MISTAKE ). They really cooled the partygoers down.

Everyone ended up wet but happy.

Some made sure they did not miss anything.

others wondered what all the fuss was about.

Still the throng enjoyed it all.

Some just relaxed and chilled out.

Others recorded the day.

And still they paid to get a soaking.


Post note I now have some sets on Flickr, and will be adding more in the future, the link is below.


  1. Thanks for sharing a grand day out for a very worthy cause.

  2. Great coverage of a Grand Day.
    Fab pics.

  3. You captured the day fantastically well there is a career for you yet as a news photographer.