On a visit to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s busiest station in Great Britain based on the Thames by the Tower of London, London’s Benevolentia Lodge No. 2549, donated over £1000. Their Lodge Secretary, Jonathan Bell, provided an excellent report on the donation as follows.
“We arrived at the Tower Lifeboat station expecting to be there for about twenty minutes for photos and to present our cheque! However, we arrived to be greeted by Andrew Stewart the Visits Officer for the Tower lifeboat with tea and coffee. Andrew then sat us down in their conference room and gave us a fascinating history of the lifeboat station on the Thames and how we were sitting on the oldest surviving pier on the river, all the time we sat there the whole thing rocked back and forth as the river traffic went by!
Lodge secretary Jonathan Bell presenting the cheque.
Andrew then went on to explain the work and rescues carried out by the Tower RNLI team and how it is the busiest station in Great Britain. We were then taken out on to the quay to meet the on-duty crew Dave, Helen and Jim. Coxswain Dave gave us an overview of the boat and what a magnificent machine it was, an E Class boat specifically designed to work on the Thames, with its powerful currents, submerged debris and heavy traffic, it had no wheelhouse so the crew (usually four) are exposed to the elements all the time. The boat didn't have propellers but worked by water jet propulsion.
He went on to inform us that the boat was as powerful as one of the large passenger clippers on the Thames. He also told us the boat was powerful enough to tow just about anything on the Thames! We then presented our cheque for £1020 to Dave the coxswain. This was followed by the crew taking the lifeboat out on a training exercise. Andrew continued with his guided tour of the station with a visit to the medical room and the crew room.
We had a very illuminating and fascinating insight to the work carried out on the river by the RNLI and after an hour and a half we left thankful in the knowledge that the RNLI was present on the river and very pleased that as a Lodge we had donated the monies raised to a very worthy cause”.