News and reviews from
Brixham Lifeboat Guild &
Torbay Lifeboat Station
Spring 2010 Issue 7
take me home,
Former RNLI Man Honoured
read me, pass me
On 4 January 2010 Torbay Civic Society and
on to a friend!
Brixham Town Council installed a Blue Plaque at
the Fishermen's Mission in Brixham to com-
memorate a courageous act by the crew of
This newsletter is
Provident (BM 291) on 1 January 1915.
produced at no cost to the
RNLI thanks to our
Provident left Brixham harbour on New Year's
sponsors; please support
Eve with skipper William Pillar, William Carter,
John Clarke, Daniel Taylor (a teenage appren-
tice) and nine year old Leonard Pillar. They
were fishing in Start Bay, when a storm arose Pillar remained silent and uncomplaining.
forcing them to seek shelter. In doing so they tempts to get a line on board. If the two boats
spotted a ship's lifeboat with 70 men on board. had collided, it would have meant almost cer- Captain Pillar served as Second Coxswain of
tain death for all. Eventually the shipwrecked Torbay Lifeboat and gained further awards for
Battleship HMS Formidable was steaming in a men were on board the small boat and whilst his brave deeds: The British War Medal; The
convoy towards Start Bay, when it was torpe- cabin boy Leonard Pillar and Dan Taylor made Victory Medal; The Shipwrecked Fishermen and
doed by a German U-boat. It began to sink and tea for them all, the rest of the crew negotiated Mariners Royal Benevolent Society Gold Medal;
a second torpedo made the outcome certain. the very hazardous journey back to the safety the Maritime Marchande Medaille and the RNLI
Of 790 officers and men aboard only 201 sur- of the harbour, where all aboard landed safely. Silver Medal. Several roads in Brixham bear his
vived, 70 of whom were saved by Provident. name. Young Leonard Pillar later had his own
This rescue was described as "one of the bravest fishing boat and was awarded the OBE after
Conditions were such that many of HMS Formi- deeds performed in the war". Because he shooting down a German plane attacking his
dable's lifeboats had been smashed and should not have been on board Leonard Pillar trawler during the second world war.
swamped by the fierce winds and rolling seas was never mentioned in any official report of
when launching. Clearly any rescue attempt the rescue. The other four crew members were A full account may be found in Torbay Civic
would be fraught with danger. This did not presented with the Sea Gallantry Medal by King Society leaflet "The Heroes of PROVIDENT BM
deter the crew of Provident. It took four at- George V and received other awards. Leonard 291" in tourist offices and Brixham Museum.
From Classroom to Shout
the all weather lifeboat. Following an interview the extent that I
with Coxswain Mark Criddle an application, sup- bought the Airfix
ported by the Governors of the school, was sent model last week-
to the RNLI. After a medical Richard was ac- end! I would rec-
cepted as a trainee member of the crew. Now ommend everyone
he is in a 12 month training period where he to find a learning
has a lot to learn. challenge, irrespec-
tive of their age
Richard says: “The whole experience is just and can’t recom-
amazing, going from a position in school where mend life long
I am seen as the educator to one where I am learning enough”.
Richard Burden, Deputy Principal at Brixham
being educated. Everything is so exhilarating
College, is proving that it is never too late to
and informative. I have the greatest respect for Richard is now working alongside ex-pupils and
learn new skills. Following a trip on the Torbay
my new team, the crew, and have the privilege the old roles are reversed. In his 20 years in
lifeboat to watch the 2008 trawler race he de-
of learning from the best of the best. It’s great Brixham he has tried to give something to the
cided to try to join the crew. Coincidentally
to think that I can hopefully make a difference. community through teaching, rugby and now
some of the existing crew were retiring or
I am sure my friends are getting bored with me the lifeboat, doing something “rewarding and
changing positions thus creating a vacancy on
continually going on about the boat, even to worthwhile that benefits this beautiful town”.
2 Life Lines Spring 2010
SOS day - 29 January 2010 the challenge for prosperity, a
To raise funds for RNLI SOS Day this year the complete record of Nigel’s photo-
Torbay Lifeboat crew decided to go surfing - off graphs of the challenge can be
the coast of Scotland. Their “Surf Off Scotland found on the station website,
challenge” was to leave Brixham, drive to Scot- www.torbaylifeboat .org.uk
land, learn to surf and return home in 24 hours.
Arriving at their destination the
They found generous sponsors: William Hill team then had to take surfing in-
(Brixham) and Chief Hire for an eight seat vehi- structions from Clanskates.co.uk. In
cle; Richmond Hotel, Millgate Motors, Paignton the brief time available each mem-
Regatta Committee and Paignton Sailing Club ber of the team managed to surf at
for the fuel and Clan Surf Adventures who man- least one wave before commencing
Mat Tyler, James Hoare, Matt Maxted,
aged to get them all on surf boards - standing the return journey to Brixham
Roger Good, Mark Criddle, Gary Fletcher
up as well! lifeboat station, arriving at one
minute past 11pm. In 23 hours tions and sponsorship they have received. To
They left Torbay Lifeboat Station at 00:01 on they had travelled 975 miles, learned to surf date they have raised in excess of £3,000.
Friday 29 January - RNLI SOS Day - and set of and ride the waves a number of times. We wish to thank all sponsors and donors for
for Scotland. Nigel Millard went along to record The crew are very grateful for all of the dona- this magnificent sum.
People Profile - John Bates grandparents and extended family lived. He Consultancy work (intended to last three years)
never saw the sea until about 10 years old. took six years and saw the purchase of a yacht
and holiday home in Brixham. Now working
After an engineering apprenticeship in Sheffield part time and spending 3 days per week there
John moved to Halesowen and joined a Scandi- Judith and John moved to Brixham in 2002.
navian company, moving to their sister com-
pany in Warwickshire four years later. Friends introduced them to the Lifeboat Guild,
where they made more friends. In 2003 the
He then met Judith. They subsequently lived then Chairman, Shirley Wheeler, asked John to
near Stourport on Severn, rekindling the associ- take on the role of Box Secretary. “With one
ation with the river. They used to make house arm up my back how could I refuse?” John says.
to house collections there for the RNLI. They
appreciated the role played by the RNLI but His predecessor had spent 2 to 3 days a week
hoped they would never need their services. on the boxes but John was still working. He or-
ganised a team of volunteers who empty, clean
His career meant extensive travelling in the UK and manage the boxes most efficiently.
and often to head office in Sweden. Working in
the oil industry in East Anglia and Scotland As well as funds, boxes have brought foreign
proved very interesting, though thankfully he coins, tokens and spilled beer! The generosity
John Bates was born in Sheffield, and you can- did not have to spend time on the rigs! of locals and visitors never ceases to amaze
not get much further from the sea than that! John, and is very much appreciated.
How he came to be Box Secretary for the He was persuaded to start up a company in
Lifeboat Guild in Brixham seems a long journey. 1993. “Having just a desk, chair, telephone and A dedicated team of 16 people manage 230
fax machine, certainly focuses one’s thoughts boxes in the Brixham area. John is very grateful
As a child John’s holidays were spent in quite rapidly”. Judith was again left to manage for their assistance.
Gloucestershire, by the river Severn where his the house, three children, livestock and garden!
Running for the Lifeboats Rob's first competitive event was the Com-
Dr Rob Bromige from Compass House Surgery mando Challenge at Exeter; since then he has
will be raising funds for Torbay Lifeboat, when run in the Torbay Half Marathon in 2007 fol-
he runs in the London Marathon on 25 April. lowing a night on call. Despite the lack of sleep
His target is £2,100 - the amount needed to he managed to maintain a steady pace and fin-
train and equip one new crew member. ish well. He did not manage to gain an entry
for London in 2008, so he ran the Edinburgh
Rob was born in Birmingham and grew up in Marathon in May in 3 hours 28 minutes. He
north Nottinghamshire. He trained to be a followed that last year in London with 3 hours
doctor in London and moved to south Devon in 20 minutes, when he raised funds for the RNLI
1993, commencing at Compass House in 1994. and the Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.
On the big day his wife, daughter and son will He often runs in and around Brixham with his
be there to cheer him along the streets of Lon- training partner, Kim Harris from Brixham Hos-
don, as we will from our armchairs! He wants pital and Brixham Harriers. She will also be
to finish inside 3 hours 15 minutes. You can running in the London Marathon and we wish
sponsor Rob by visiting Compass House, the her the very best of luck too.
Lifeboat Station or online at
www.virginmoneygiving.com /ROBERT BROMIGE So if you see Rob out running locally, give him a
wave and wish him luck in London.
4 Life Lines Spring 2010
Sat 10 April - “Cover the Flag” Brixham Town Centre 10am – 3pm.
Wed14 April - Coffee Morning: The Trawler, North Boundary Road 10am .
Thur 29 April - Coffee Morning at Brixham Yacht Club 10am – 11.45am.
Delightful views across the bay – why not stay for lunch?
Wed 26 May - Coach trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in springtime.
Leave Brixham 9 am. Tickets £7.50 for coach - call 851543.
Fri 4 June - Fish Quay Market, Old Fish Quay 10am – 4pm courtesy of
Heritage Festival Committee. Contact Mark on 850155 if you
can help or have clean, quality goods we can sell.
Sun 13 June - ‘Proms in the Garden’ at Berry Head Hotel
Concert starts 7pm. Tickets £12. Contact 850155.
Fri 25 June - Evening Bay Cruise on the Dart Princess 7.30 – 9.30pm.
Tickets £6.50 from 858727. Bar on board – Bring your own picnic!
Thur 8 July - Coffee Morning at All Saints Church 10.00am – 12 noon.
A delightfully decorated All Saints Church for Sea Week
18 to 25 July TORBAY LIFEBOAT WEEK
Thur 22 July - Lunch at the Poopdeck Restaurant. A tasty lunch at this On 10 October 2009 Annie, Joe and Mrs Sandra Sutton, dog Danny & grandchil-
quality harbour side restaurant. Tickets in advance Contact 856125 Lillierose throw their coins onto the RNLI flag dren Alisha & Sam Maunder at the sponsored
Sun 25 July - Lifeboat Station Open Day 11am – 4pm. in Fore Street, Brixham. Twice a year Brixham dog walk last October, when nearly £700 was
Sun 25 July - Service on the Quay Old Fish Quay 7.00pm Lifeboat Guild holds a 'Cover The Flag' event raised. This year’s Dog Walk will be on Sunday
at two locations in the town, raising around a 3 October - forms will be available in Septem-
Tues 10, Wed 11 and Sat 14 August - Flag Day Street Collection.
thousand pounds each year. ber. Please give it your full support.
Wed 18 Aug - Coffee Morning at Brixham Holiday Park, Fishcombe Road
Wed 7 September - Coffee Morning at Berry Head Hotel 10am – 12 noon
Join us for coffee with stunning views over Torbay. Why not stay for lunch?
TORBAY LIFEBOAT WEEK 2010 - 18 TO 25 JULY
Mon 20 September - Brixham Rugby Club 2.15pm. details may be found at www.torbaylifeboat .org.uk
Tea & Talk with Arthur Curnow - £3. Why the RNLI Needs Volunteer Fund Raisers
Wed 29 September - Fish Quay Market - Old Fish Quay 10 a.m – 4 p.m.
Sun 3 October - Sponsored Dog Walk at Battery Gardens. Six out of ten lifeboat launches are only possible because of legacies left in
Start Time10-10:30am. Sponsorship forms available wills for the RNLI, but this still leaves four out ten rescues that must be paid for
throughout September from 852992 or 850155
in some other way. A major part of the money that pays for these additional
rescues are raised by RNLI volunteer fund raisers and here in Torbay we have
three volunteer teams who raise money for our lifeboat crews and therefore in-
directly help to saves lives at sea. Our volunteer fundraisers already have estab-
Torbay Guild Contacts lished ways to raise money for the RNLI but they would welcome any new
members who have fresh ideas and a fresh pair of hands. So why not contact
one of our teams that are local to you and come and meet us and discuss how
President Vice Presidents
Mrs Sheila Thomlinson Mr Jack Lister you could help. The contact details for each of the three teams are:
Mr Maurice Gibbard
Brixham – Mark Spillett, telephone 01803 850155
Chairman Mr Mark Spillett 850155 Paignton – Michael Dimmock, telephone 01803 527881
Torquay – Barbara Lawton, 01803 296990
Secretary Mrs Barbara Smithson 856125
Late last year two new members, Maureen and Jim Lambourne, joined the Brix-
Treasurer Mr Dave Smithson 856125 ham Lifeboat Guild and were quickly recruited to work in our RNLI shop, on a
part time basis and that suited them, having never worked in a shop before.
Committee When asked how they found their new role in the RNLI Guild they said “We
Mr John Bates Box Secretary 858389
were given some training by experienced Lifeboat Guild members and then
Mrs Judy Bates Raffle / Welfare 858389
worked alongside existing volunteers. We have found it to be very rewarding,
Mrs Sue Harding Souvenir Secretary 855889
Mrs Lucy McNair Membership Secretary 856429 knowing that just giving a little of our free time is helping to fund the RNLI.
Mr Mike Neville Publicity 201001 Being new arrivals in Brixham, the shop has also allowed us to meet other local
Mrs Jean Penfold Programme Secretary 852992 residents and visitors, thereby making us feel more settled in the area”.
Mr Mark Spillett Lottery Coordinator 850155
Editor: John Parr 01803 883087
Lifeboat Shop, Middle Street 883570
Lifeboat Kiosk, Lifeboat Station 850155
Brixham Mr Mark Spillett 850155
Paignton Mr Michael Dimmock 527881
Torquay Ms Barbara Lawton 296990 A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland
BRIXHAM LIFEBOAT GUILD
(SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.