RNLI College receives royal visit

The Prince of Wales visited the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) College based in Poole, Dorset, yesterday to see where the charity’s volunteer crew and lifeguards from around the UK and Ireland are trained.

The visit to the RNLI College, part of a wider visit to the Duchy of Cornwall’s Poundbury development, is not the first royal visit. In July 2004, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh performed the official opening.

During his visit, The Prince of Wales met with RNLI chairman Stuart Popham and RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie and learnt of the challenges the charity has faced during the pandemic – throughout which it saved 349 lives in 2020.

“The last 14 months have been extremely challenging for all charities and the RNLI is no different,” says Popham. “Our committed volunteers have maintained a 24/7 rescue service throughout the pandemic and today was an opportunity for The Prince to personally thank some of them for their dedicated service.

“Whilst at the College, The Prince of Wales was able to witness, first-hand, the training that RNLI crews undertake, which is fundamental to saving lives. He observed a live demonstration undertaken by the charity’s lifeboat trainers and Poole Lifeboat Station volunteers in the Sea Survival Centre.”

The Prince of Wales was also given a tour of the All-weather Lifeboat Centre where staff and apprentices presented the facility where the production and refit of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats takes place, including the charity’s latest state-of-the-art lifeboat design, the Shannon.

The RNLI’s principal naval architect, Dr Holly Phillips MBE, comments: “It was a pleasure to meet The Prince of Wales today and be able to demonstrate the work the teams do at our All-weather Lifeboat Centre. The facility here creates local employment, including apprenticeships in marine engineering and boatbuilding, which ultimately helps to save lives at sea – we simply couldn’t do it without our dependable lifeboat fleet.”

Images courtesy of RNLI / Nathan Williams

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