Cromer RLNI Talk - 5th march 2020

The U3A Local History Group was very pleased to welcome a rather special guest speaker to their most recent monthly presentation - Richard Leeds, the recently retired 18-year long term Operations Manager of the Cromer RNLI Lifeboat Station and now bedding in to his new position in the Cromer Community – The Mayor of the Town.

Richard visited the group at their Sheringham Lighthouse “home” base to deliver an excellent session on the history of the Cromer Lifeboat from its inception in 1804 through to the present-day launching requirements of the incredibly talented Tamar Class Lifeboat which is based at the end of Cromer Pier. Richards presentation was laced with some exceptionally “ancient” but delightfully detailed photographs and slides which served to tell us all present just how  incredibly tough life was for the old time crew members, mainly local fishermen, as they manned the  rows of oars in the flimsily vulnerable craft used to save lives in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mr Leeds was able to impress on us all how complex many of the major rescue efforts by the Cromer RNLI team were in those dim and distanced days of up to 200 years ago. Henry Blogg, the country’s most decorated Lifeboat Coxswain for gallantry (including 3 Gold Medals and countless other awards) and who served this coastline as “skipper” of the Cromer Lifeboat for 38 years, simply brought home to us the need for us all to at least consider the impact on Cromer over the past 2 centuries of a succession of truly brave and incredibly “professional” guardians of Norfolk’s acutely difficult North Sea Coastline. The transition of Lifeboats from almost coracle like flimsy craft to the amazing Tamar Vessel which is tucked away at the end of Cromer Pier was presented so very well by a man who talked to us with passion and great experience.

A donation collection for the Lifeboat Service was made and presented to Richard along with a thank you gift - a vote of thanks for a truly inspiring historical presentation was made by group member David Armitage and all present indicated clearly that it had been a very successful monthly meeting.