Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No More Heroes Anymore?


So asked the Stranglers way back in the late seventies and as the grumpy old man here begins to morph alongside the Beach Bum, I often ponder the same question when I look at some held up as idols for kids these days.

Let me point you in the direction of some real heroes that need your support. A little intro first...

Beach Bum & Sea Nymph were recently on holiday in Scotland and kids finally bunked away, we were sitting tucked up in this imperial sized monster of a bed with the TV on, channel hopping.

We started watching a documentary about the Penlee lifeboat disaster and I don't think we exchanged another word until it was over. Tragic, gripping, heroic, poetic - words fail to grapple with just how poignantly this tragedy unfolded.

Back around Christmas 1981, the Solomon Browne lifeboat launched out of Mousehole to respond to a distress call from a freighter dangerously close to the rocks off Land's End. The sea conditions that night were, frankly, the stuff of nightmares. The waves were so high that the helicopter charged with an initial rescue attempt was in danger of being clipped by the breakers.
The crew were all local volunteers. We often talk about how "you couldn't be paid to do a job like that" but watching the program, there was something hauntingly transcendent about these men and their sense of duty. To leave family and friends ashore and venture out in a lifboat under such staggeringly attrocious conditions was both confounding and inspiring.

That night 16 in total were claimed by the sea - from the freighter and the entire crew of the Solomon Browne.

I'd usually complain about how the scandalous it is that we live in a country where we can spend so much on other people's wars and yet we have to fork out of the public purse to keep such valuable services afloat. Well, blah, blah, blah .. this time, I just don't care about the politics. I went to the RNLI's (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) site and simply joined up as a member.

Do the right thing and join up or make a donation here.

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