But not before a dip in Poole Harbour
RNLI chief executive Andrew Freemantle has stood down after nearly 11 years as leader of the lifesaving charity.
Staff at the charity’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset, waved him off in true maritime style when, in a pre-planned mock incident, he plunged into Poole Harbour, was first rescued by an RNLI lifeguard on a rescue watercraft, rescued a second time by an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, and then transferred for his final voyage, with great skill, to the RNLI ‘s latest class of all-weather lifeboat – the Tamar.
Here, aboard the Tamar, RNLI staff and volunteers made reference to Andrew’s cycle-ride to Rome when he raised £60,000 for the RNLI memorial (unveiled earlier this month) to commemorate all those who have lost their lives while helping to save others. A mock bike was fixed to the Tamar and the outgoing CEO was asked to cycle; the faster he went, the faster the Tamar lifeboat went – this class of lifeboat can reach speeds of 25-knots, so the challenge was on.
The RNLI ‘s new CEO, Paul Boissier was on hand to witness proceedings, and leadership of the RNLI was formally passed to him, as Andrew ‘cycled’ away.
Paul Boissier, who recently retired from the Royal Navy, said Andrew must go with a sense of pride, and real appreciation from those at the charity: “Taking charge of a charity at a time of global financial uncertainty is a challenge. In the short term, I would like to ensure the charity can get through the current recession, but at the same time to position the RNLI so that during economic recovery we’re able to take the next steps forward.
“None of us should lose track of the fact that we’re in a tough climate and the ultimate measure of success will be keeping the lifeboats afloat across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The RNLI is a very sound organisation and I believe, with the public’s continued trust and support, we will succeed in this.”
Andrew Freemantle commented: “It has been a great privilege and pleasure to have been at the helm of the RNLI for nearly 11 years.
“With support, I have been able to move this great Institution forward during this time.
“The fact that this has happened has been due to the professionalism, commitment and cooperation of the staff, volunteers and Trustees, and because of the public’s goodwill and support. I’m pleased to hand the “RNLI baton” on to Paul, who I know will take good care of this great Institution over the coming decade.”