RNLI Opens New Training Room with Welsh Slate Plaque

Penarth RNLI this week celebrated the official opening of a brand new training facility, based at the lifeboat station on Penarth esplanade.

The training room and its contents were funded solely by voluntary contributions and donations, and members of the Penarth lifeboat crew and shore team were joined at the station yesterday (Sunday 9 June) by a number of special guests who had made significant contributions to the cost of the room.

The room, which has been built on a mezzanine level at the back of the station, has been named as the Bob Evans room in memory of crew member Bob, who sadly died nearly seven years ago, aged just 40. Bob’s mum, Brenda and sister Lynne carried out the official opening, unveiling a hand carved Welsh slate commemorative plaque, gilded with 23 ¾ carat gold leaf. The plaque was donated by Stone Sign Co, whose Operations Director is Rod Hill, one of Penarth RNLI’s management team.

Welcoming guests at the event, Penarth RNLI Chair, Andy Petersen explained that the entire room with building, fittings and furniture had come to just under £40,000 and would not have been possible without the tireless fundraising efforts of a number of organisations and individuals. Among these were the RNLI Cardiff fundraising branch, the RNLI Sail Day Committee, and the Border Force –for whom Bob worked as a sea going Customs Officer on cutters around the UK coast, under the agency’s previous guise of HM Customs and Excise.

"Bob was a valued member of our team and also a valued volunteer member of the Penarth Lifeboat team, which is why we wanted to help raise money for the RNLI. Through a combination of activities and events, including a relay race around Loch Lomond and a sponsored diet, we managed to raise £6,300 to go towards the cost of the training room.", said Bob’s former colleague, Marlon Johnson of the Border Force.

Penarth couple Malcolm and Jean Howard were also invited to the event, as a thank you for their significant donation towards the room.

Malcolm said: "Our house overlooks the Bristol Channel and we often see the lifeboat going out on rescues. We have a tremendous admiration for the work of the crew and we wanted to recognise what they do."

Cardiff based audio visual company, PSG offered to donate and install the room’s state of the art audio visual equipment.

"The RNLI is a fantastic charity – as a keen surfer I’ve seen first-hand what they do and we wanted to help the Penarth crew in providing them with much needed audio visual equipment", said Chris Pearce of PSG who attended the event along with colleagues Lee Schembri and Aaron Gallivan.

"Since the lifeboat station opened in 1996, the amount of training that our volunteer crew members have to carry out has increased and the conditions here to do that were becoming inadequate", said Penarth RNLI Chair, Andy Petersen.

"So thanks to our supporters, we’ve now added to the fantastic facilities available to our shore and sea going crew and the room also provides meeting facilities for visiting RNLI personnel. We decided to dedicate the training room to Bob who was a much loved team member here in Penarth and we wanted to do something in his memory", he added.


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