Meet The Team

Support Team

Volunteers from the area staff the boathouse shop, greet our visitors and are pleased to talk about the Lifeboat and its activities.

Sidmouth Lifeboat is independent, not part of the RNLI, and relies on donations, bequests and importantly proceeds from its small shop, based in the boathouse itself.

Usually open everyday except for Christmas Day, from 10am - 4pm in Winter and 10am - 5pm in Summer, the boathouse shop sells items ranging from magnets to model cars and ball pens to baseball caps, amongst many other gifts.

We have had to close our shop due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions; however, our friendly support team look forward to seeing you as soon as we are able to open again!

The Sidmouth Lifeboat Support Team

Boat Crew

The lifeboat is usually crewed by a team of four when it heads out to sea.  The Helm "drives" the boat and is in command of all aspects of its operation.  Behind the Helm sits the Navigator, who assists the Helm in reaching the location of the casualty or vessel in difficulty, and is also responsible for maintaining the often busy radio communications with the Boathouse, Coastguard teams, Helicopter and other Lifeboats. The remaining two crew assist in the rescue as directed by the Helm, undertaking a wide range of tasks from swimming ashore to administering emergency First Aid, to anchoring the lifeboat, and rigging tows to stricken vessels.

Andy Horsley, Tractor Driver

Andy Horsley

Tractor Driver

Joined: 2015

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I thought it would be good to give something back.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Being part of a great team.

What is your ‘day job’?
Senior Therapy Radiographer.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I used to be a sailmaker, and I'm pretty handy at laminating fibreglass and carbon fibre.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Surfing, sailing and cycling. 

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The card with the Morris 1000 on it.

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Andy Mitchell

Shore Crew, DLA

Joined: 2018

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
To get involved.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Being part of the team, and spending time on the seafront.

What is your ‘day job’?
Civil Engineer.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Enjoy woodworking.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Being on the water, or out in the countryside.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
Baseball Caps – I bought one!

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Brian Taylor

Tractor Driver, Mechanic & Boathouse Maintenance

Joined: 2015

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
As an ex sea-going engineer, I hoped to put forward a little of my skills and knowledge, which would assist those coming up behind me.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Working with a likeminded team of enthusiastic and professionally dedicated individuals that make up the Crew of Sidmouth Lifeboat.

What is your ‘day job’?
 I work at Potbury’s of Sidmouth as part-time undertaker.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I am a Marine Engineer by Trade, ex-police officer seconded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and working with the Police International Counter Terrorist Unit at MI5. Speak several languages including Arabic, Urdu and Japanese.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Not to take life too seriously and to try and keep the Crew amused.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
Tide Time Table – I appear to know what the tide is doing.

Cameron Baker

Cameron Baker

Boat Crew

Joined: April 2016

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?

Being part of the sailing club next door on the safety boats, I wanted to expand my skills and offer something back to the community at the same time

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?

The best part must be the people! Everyone has the same goal of wanting to help and it is really like a second family!

What is your ‘day job’?

I run an Events company providing technical support & infrastructure for live events

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

I am a practical person and always up for learning new things and have a few random qualifications!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)

Spending time with my family & partner Megan going on long walks and being on the sea!

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?

Has to be the woolly hats that keep us warm in the winter

Charli Ferrand Boat Crew

Charli Ferrand

Boat Crew, Wellbeing Officer, PR Officer

Joined: March 2018

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I moved back into the area after 11 years living in Australia and I just wanted to get involved in the local community.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
The people, many of whom I would have probably never met unless I’d joined! From the crew to the support team, everyone is so lovely and supportive. I also love the challenge being boat crew provides - every training session and callout is different. You learn so much each time.

What is your ‘day job’?
I’m the Editor of a planet-positive news website WeAreEarthCollective.com and Publications Editor for the Hawk & Owl Trust. I also freelance as a marketing communications consultant for small, purposeful businesses. 

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I am a dab-hand at twirling fire poi! I've already recently started learning jump rope.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
My fiancé and I recently adopted a lurcher from Dog's Trust, so we love taking her for long walks in the beautiful Devon countryside. If we're not walking the dog, I like to be horse riding, paddleboarding, jogging, practicing yoga, enjoying the beach or being in the sea - anything active and outdoors really.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The annual calendar is a must-buy.

Dave Pearce, Boat Crew

Dave Pearce

Boat Crew

Joined: 2016

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I have always wanted to contribute to the team, yet work commitments made this tricky. Once my work situation changed slightly, I jumped at the change to apply to join. I think I had the skills and life experiences that could compliment the aim of the lifeboat team and thus motivation to contribute. 

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Getting wet.

What is your ‘day job’?
Self-employed.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I am also a qualified mountain and ski guide. I have climbed Everest, been on the mountain twice and had adventures globally.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Rock climbing, winter mountaineering and alpinism or spending days on steep rock and mountain faces. Skiing, sea swimming, sea kayaking, mountain biking. I am not good at sitting down!

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
Not an 'item' but - the volunteers who tirelessly run the shop ...  hats off to them!

Ed Birch, Boat Crew

Ed Birch

Boat Crew

Joined: March 2018

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I’ve always wanted to get involved with the Lifeboat ever since sailing the Atlantic. Moving to Sidmouth recently gave me the opportunity to fulfil that ambition.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
The feeling of being part of a great team and being trained to be able to assist others in the difficult situations they can find themselves in.

What is your ‘day job’?
I Manage an Outdoor Retail Store, Cotswold Outdoor at Darts Farm.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Wicked Left foot (and a bionic knee!)

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I’m a passionate Everton supporter and used to play a lot of football, but following a knee replacement my super striker days are now behind me! These days, as with a lot of the crew I enjoy the outdoors. I kayak, mountain bike and climb, spending my free time with my dogs enjoying the beautiful coastline and nearby moorland we are so lucky to be surrounded by.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
You can’t beat a quality fridge magnet to add to your collection.

 

Graham Trude, Sidmouth Lifeboat Boat Crew

Graham Trude

Boat Crew, Tractor Driver

Joined: 2017

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I work in Sidmouth five days a week and have always enjoyed being on the sea, so thought I could bring my tractor experience and first aid skills to help the town, and its visitors

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
The sense of making a difference when helping people at sea, it brings self worth and the feel good factor. Also the comradery of working together with like minded people is great.

What is your ‘day job’?
I'm a Green Keeper for East Devon District Council. 

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I play the drum kit to grade 5 standard. And used to play in a pretty cool ska/punk rock band in my teens and supported a couple bands that are now known all over the globe!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I like to cycle when I can and also love fresh water course fishing. Also spending time with the family.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
My favourite item from the shop is the Sidmouth lifeboat beanie hat!

Guy Bennett_Coxswain_Sidmouth Lifeboat

Guy Bennett

Coxswain, Tractor Driver, DLA

Joined: 2010

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
To help others and be involved with the sea.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
All the training and the other crew involved. 

What is your ‘day job’?
Landscape Gardener. 

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I can do some cool tricks with a diablo!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Surfing, fishing, SUPping, biking, boating, working!

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The pens, they are really nice to write with!!

Katrina McIlveen, Boat Crew, Sidmouth Lifeboat

Katrina McIlveen

Boat Crew

Joined: 2016

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I have always had a love of the sea which is why I moved to Sidmouth. I never imagined that I’d be able to become part of the Lifeboat crew but have always admired their work. I got talking to one of the support team one day who said they were looking for volunteers so I was invited to a training session. I turned up and have been volunteering ever since.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
The best part of being a volunteer at Sidmouth Lifeboat is being part of an amazing team. I have never met such a nice group of people. Everyone supports and looks out for one another.

What is your ‘day job’?
I work in a psychiatric intensive care unit and I’m training to become a nursing associate.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I used to be a kayaking instructor.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I enjoy keeping fit and go running and walking every day. I like doing gym classes like body pump and spinning when the gyms are open. I also enjoy yoga and dancing.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
My favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop is the clocks. They have a lovely beach theme.

Kyle Baker, Boat Crew

Kyle Baker

Boat Crew, First Aid Officer

Joined: 2017

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Always had a passion for the sea from an early age, spend my life surfing or photographing in it! Wanted to give something back to the community that I am Passionate about.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Being surrounded by likeminded people who all want to help people in times of need.

What is your ‘day job’?
I am a photographer and film-maker

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I am a grade 6 Drummer and a England athletics running coach for SRC.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Surfing or being in or on the ocean!

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The calendars, as they feature a lot of my photography!

Ian Fletcher, Senior Tractor Driver

Ian Fletcher

Helm, Senior Tractor Driver, Member of the Board of Trustees

Joined: May 2014

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I joined in May 2014 having just moved into the area. Joining the Lifeboat was one of first things I did. There were several reasons why I put in my application to join. New to the area, I was keen to try and get involved as much as possible in the community. Having just left the Royal Navy after 17 years, joining a maritime organisation seemed like a nice transition. It would also give me the opportunity to pass on some of my navigation and seamanship skills. The Lifeboat is obviously a great charity and it is always worthwhile putting your time towards helping others – in this case potentially saving lives at sea.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Where to start? I love being part of such a worthwhile charity, not only with the primary aim of saving lives, but the Lifeboat is very much part of the community. Being part of a team is incredibly rewarding – everyone on the lifeboat is there because they want to help people and be part of something that has a purpose. It is a really friendly atmosphere and there is a real buzz about the place. It is also great to get to know such a varied range of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experience.

What is your ‘day job’?
I am the Regional Security Lead for NHS Digital, working with the NHS Trusts in the Southwest region to improve their cyber security.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Well I can’t sing and I can’t dance! However, I am heavily involved in the Scout movement (another great charity in Sidmouth), leading the local Explorer group (14-18 year olds) and helping run 1st Sid Vale Scout Group as Assistant Group Scout Leader.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I am a keen Munroe Bagger (have climbed 150 of the 284 mountains in Scotland over 3000ft) and love walking on Dartmoor (or anywhere for that matter!). I love squash and am trying to play more golf. Oh, and enjoy being in my garden and being with my family. Although I find I have little time to do any of the above.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
It has to be the Sidmouth model Lifeboat.

Jim Brewster, Sidmouth Lifeboat Crew

Jim Brewster

Helm, Boat Crew, joint Training Officer

Joined: 2016

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
To get more involved in the community, to do something challenging, rewarding and fun and because of my love for the sea.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
My crewmates and the feeling when you have been able to help someone.

What is your ‘day job’?
Computer games animation system engineer.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Plumbing and tile laying, both of which I avoid if I can. I can also still get in the lotus position.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Spending time with my family and windsurfing.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The beanie hats.

Martin Barnard, Helm, Sidmouth Lifeboat

Martin Barnard

Helm, Boat Crew

Joined: 2016

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
When I was younger I got involved in sailing and began to appreciate the Safety-net that a Lifeboat service provides to those at sea - I wanted to join a crew ever since. Moving to Sidmouth gave me the opportunity to apply and I also wanted to find ways to contribute to the local community.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
The feeling when you have helped someone out. I’ve also loved getting to know and spending time with a great team of people.

What is your ‘day job’?
For my day job I work at Devon County Council. My current role is in Public Health as part of the team responding to Covid-19.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I have been known to sing a sea shanty from time to time!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Having outdoor adventures with my family and friends.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The calendar – I like the pictures.

Naomi Cook Company Secretary

Naomi Cook

Company Secretary & Treasurer, Trustee, Former Helm

Joined: 2009

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I used to work at the council's recycling department and delivered a recycling box to the boathouse once... I walked out with an application form!

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I make a mean chutney or jam, and my chocolate cake is very popular.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Being outside with my family.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The lighthouse pull-cords. They have appeared in all the houses I have lived in and make a nice gift idea.

Paul May, Sidmouth Lifeboat

Paul May

Trainee Shore Crew and Tractor Driver

Joined: 2019

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I joined Sidmouth Lifeboat to be part of a team that had a common purpose, that was to help others and save lives. I know that sounds a little of a cliché but I guess coming from an organisation that deals with emergency situations in my day job, it felt natural to blend across. I wanted to use my driving skills and tractor experience to drive ‘Mary’ the launch tractor.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Since I began my training I have found the crew and support team to be friendly and helpful. Although I have some experience of the sea, I am far from a mariner. With the teams support, I am learning new skills. I have recently completed a sea survival and VHF course. I have learnt new skills such as coastal recognition and knots.

What is your ‘day job’?
Police Officer.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
I am a reasonable cook.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I have recently taken up cycling. I had not owned a cycle since I was a teenager. I found a new lease of life in exercise and seeing more beautiful places in which we live on two wheels.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
I really enjoy our yearly calendar. It shows off the capabilities and dedication of the crew in our glorious town of Sidmouth. It makes a great present, whilst promoting us an independent charity.

Phil Shepperd, Operations Manager, Sidmouth Lifeboat

Phil

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chair of the Trustees, Former Coxswain

Joined: 2002

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
To get out on the water and to meet some new people, having only recently moved back to the South West. I no longer go to sea, but spent 16 years doing so as crew and eventually Coxswain. 

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
Being part of a team of great people, sharing both the rough and the smooth, and making some wonderful friends. But it’s way more than that. Hard to describe. Brilliant.

What is your ‘day job’?
Marine Science Consultant

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Haha. Best ask the gang about that!!! Seems unlikely. I was very proud of learning to hula-hoop during lockdown – see our Pass-the-Pager video. But got totally out-skilled by my daughter, as usual.

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
Motorbikes … had you noticed? And music. Missing live music a lot at the moment, but meanwhile love having some great music debates with my son who is a musiclopedia of everything from Kanye to Van the Man.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The calendar of course.

Si Priestley, Sidmouth Lifeboat Crew

Si Priestley

Helm, Training & Promotions Officer, DLA

Joined: 2005

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I moved from Yorkshire and wanted to be involved with the community. Originally, I enquired about working in the shop, but was told I was too young!

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
There are so many things that make it a great thing to do. Obviously being in a position to help people when others can’t is amazing. The camaraderie and support we all give each other. I often marvel at how different we all are, ages, political views, hobbies, opinions etc. but at our core we all have “something” that brings us together to do this often stressful role. We all get on really well and support each other. It’s a big family really.

What is your ‘day job’?
I’m Head of Project Management for a Telecoms company, delivering new telephony solutions to companies both large and small across the UK.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Of course!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I love being outdoors; Climbing, Hiking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Camping etc.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The diaries are excellent!

Toby-Hoggarth

Toby Hoggarth

Boat Crew

Joined: October 2018

Why did you join Sidmouth Lifeboat?
I wanted to get involved with the community, as having recently moved to the town it was an ideal way to do so.

What is the best part of being a volunteer with Sidmouth Lifeboat?
You get to do some pretty cool stuff!

What is your ‘day job’?
A lighting designer and technician for live events. I also run a picture framing business, "The Handmade Frame Company" here in Sidmouth.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Well that would be telling wouldn't it!

What is your favourite thing to do (when you’re not volunteering at Sidmouth Lifeboat, of course!)
I absolutely love finding new places to go for walks off the beaten track near Sidmouth. It's an incredibly beautiful part of the country and you will always find somewhere amazing if you go looking.

What’s your favourite item from the Sidmouth Lifeboat shop?
The little models of the lifeboat of course, perfect for playing with in the bath!