Category Archives: Events

Fun evening out

Kevin visited the friendship circle group at St Faith and St Laurence Church , Harborne (opposite the Court Oak Pub) on Monday 21 March 2016.

After a well received talk Kevin received donations of £42.

The group are supporting the RNLI as their Charity of the Year.

First event on the agenda is a coffee morning on 9th April from 1030-1200. Kevin will be there as will the souvenirs team.

If you can support the event please come along.

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Bournville Yacht and Powerboat Club Viennese Day

The sales team visited the annual Bournville Yacht and Powerboat Club event at Valley Parkway, Bournville Lane where the boats are illuminated for sailing during the evening. A very busy event with lots of people there all afternoon. A good amount of sales on behalf of the RNLI also £321.58 and £52.29 donations. Thanks to the committee for their continued support by inviting the branch along. We have had a great working relationship with them for many years now.

If you would like to know when events are held have a look at their website at

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Armed Forces Day

The Branch volunteers will be in Birmingham’s Centenary Square tomorrow 27th June as part of Birmingham’s Armed Forces Day event.

Pop along and say high if you’re in the area

Gold Award and Bar – Chris beats the odds

On 21 May 2015 Christopher Clifford attended the National Awards Presentation of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at the Barbican Centre to receive a bar to his gold award for service to the institution from HRH the Duke Of Kent. Few of these awards are issued each year and this one was more poignant as earlier in the year he suffered an illness which for a time appeared likely to be fatal.
As he recovered from his illness Chris> was determined that despite restricted mobility he would walk across the stage to receive the award which was a key focus of his recovery. Accompanied by his daughter Helen he did exactly that to the delight of the friends and family who had accompanied him.
Chris has been a stalwart of the charity for many many years in his role as a souvenir secretary for the Erdington Fundraising Branch, supported by wife Jacky, and his children David, Helen and Tracey. Even granddaughter Emily has been known to do some education work for the Branch at 13 years old.
Chris was heavily involved in the fundraising campaign iin the mid 1990’s which lead to the building of the Lifeboat “Forward Birmingham” which for many years was the Exmouth Station Boat.

Chris receives his award from HRH the Duke of Kent

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It’s the start of Mayday weekend. Throughout the Country we will be holding events and selling our signature yellow welly badges

If you are holding an event get it out on facebookanf twitter with the hashtag #yellowwelly.

Boxes of badges have been placed at Morrisons in Rubery, Cooks on Alvechurch Road, West Heath and Dennings DIY on Bristol Road South Northfield.

For ale fans the following pubs will be getting a box of badges placed this afternoon.

The Woodman New Canal Street, Post Office Vaults, New Street and The Wellington on Bennetts Hill “Buy a Welly from the Welly”

Please give whatever you can.

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Loss of the Penlee lifeboat 19 December 1981 – Guest Blog

As we remember the crew of the Penlee lifeboat and the Union Star this week I am including a guest piece written by Nikki Twyning who was at school in Mousehole at the time :-


 Hey everyone, I was a pupil at Mousehole school in 1981 – that’ll mean something to you guys I’m sure. It was a night that changed a whole community and is why I am passionate about the RNLI.  I would like to share it with you all.  These folks are heroes – everyday.

Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne

Crew of the RNLB Solomon Browne

The crew of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne lost on service 19 December 1981

A thousand coloured lights shine and twinkle merrily, reflected perfectly in the calm seawater of the closed harbour. All around, tantalizing festive colours sing through the cold December air. Every festive season the small village of Mousehole welcomes the world to view their exuberant celebration of Christmas lights. At 8pm on December 19th the celebrations pause. The colours of the night draw back in to the darkness leaving only a cross, flanked by two kneeling angels glinting brilliant star white high up on the hill. For one hour, this will be the only illumination this Cornish harbour will have. This is a moment of reflection and remembrance as all hearts and minds are taken back to 1981 and the extraordinary bravery and courage of eight men: the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne.

It was a night where nature unleashed her worst. A ferocious sea of 60ft waves whipped up by hurricane force winds. The coaster Union Star found herself in trouble off the Cornish coast. She was on her maiden voyage but suffered engine failure eight miles to the East of Wolf Rock Lighthouse. The violent wind pushed her effortlessly towards the granite cliff face. A distress call to the Coastguard went out. Raging sea and wind gusting to 90 knots made a helicopter rescue impossible. Falmouth Coastguard called for Penlee Lifeboat and she responded.

The Solomon Browne had been the Penlee Lifeboat for 21 years. The volunteer crew had decades of experience between them; many earned their livelihood as Mousehole fishermen. Some of the men were relaxing in the British Legion Club when the alarm was raised. Christmas was less than a week away and the festive spirit was warm in the heart of such a close community. The alarm raised and men all around the village made their way in to the grim night. Solomon Browne needed eight crew but more men than that responded. It was Coxswain Trevelyan Richards who choose his warriors for the battle ahead. His experience told him to only take one man per family. A father took his place on board as his son watched from the shore. The lifeboat launched with hell swirling around them.

Union Star was stricken close to the cliff. Her eight passengers, including the Captains wife and two children, saw the lifeboat as she approached to rescue them. Stern granite rocks loomed large through the tormented sea. Three or four times the lifeboat tried to get along side. Miraculously, four from on board the Union Star were pulled on to the Solomon Browne. The strong voice of the Coxswain came over the hissing radio to Falmouth Coastguard “we’ve got four on board”. But that wasn’t all: four remained. The lifeboat and her crew made another attempt. Falmouth Coastguard tried to make contact. “Penlee Lifeboat. Falmouth Coastguard. Over.” Low quiet static was the only response. Again, “Penlee Lifeboat. Falmouth Coastguard. Over”. Winter roared around the heavens and ocean but never has a silence been more loudly heard. Communication was lost. Ten minutes later, the lights visible from the Solomon Browne went out. All hands were lost.

Dawn brought an eerie calm and a search for survivors. Local men, fishermen and neighbouring Lifeboat stations joined the efforts of a Search and Rescue helicopter. Both boats had been wrecked. There were no survivors.

Mousehole had lost eight men but within two days a whole new crew of volunteers had come forward. Some would go on to serve under Coxswain Neil Brockman whose father had been chosen instead of him that fateful night. The crew of the Solomon Browne all received posthumous awards for gallantry. Coxswain Trevelyan Richards received the RNLI’s highest honour: the Gold Medal. Each of the crew were awarded RNLI Bronze Medals.

Mousehole was wounded. Children had lost their fathers and wife’s had lost their husbands. So many of it’s brave son’s had been taken. Forever now the history of Mousehole would include this most courageous tale and every year there would be time to pause and remember as the bright Christmas lights fade away leaving only a cross and two praying angels. We honour the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne.

Coxswain William Trevelyan Richards
James Stephen Madron
Nigel Brockman
John Blewett
Charles Greenhaugh
Kevin Smith
Barrie Torrie
Gary Wallis

Gave their lives in service.


My thanks go to Nikki for allowing me to use this article.


This is a recording of the final radio exchange between the Coastguard and the Solomon Browne


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Birmingham Remembrance Parade 9/11/14

Today dawned bright and clear after all the recent storms. I was privileged to be part of the small RNLI contingent at this years Remembrance Parade. Also present were contingents from all parts of the Military, Cadet Corps, Veterans, Emergency and voluntary services – far too many to list individually. Rodger Withers was in charge of the RNLI standard.

Around the edge of the arena was a huge presence from people who had come to watch. It was by far the largest turn out that I have witnessed. There were even people high up on the terrace of the new library.

The atmosphere was electric, I would defy anyone not to have a lump in their throat as the standards marched into the arena followed by all the participants, loudly applauded by the croud until everyone was inside. We had the pleasure of the company of the Veterans of the Parachute Regiment.

Following the playing of the last post and a two minute silence came the laying of the wreaths by numerous Military and service groups, full time and voluntary emergency services and support orgnisations. A wreath was laid  by Marcus Westwood on behalf of the Birmingham and Erdington Branches.

The parade was concluded with a march past by all those assembled. Once again there was the continuous round of applause by the crowd for all the representatives involved. The RNLI standard could be seen billowing out at the front of the parade.

Thanks have to go the the Army escort team who looked after everyone and escorted each of the wreath laying parties, and of course, the organisers.

Finally thanks have to go to all of the adults and children who came along to support the parade.

Proud to be a Brummie? – Too right

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ASDA Minworth collection

A two day collection was undertaken on 10/11 October at the ASDA store in Minworth.

On Friday  a total of £459.49 was collected with a further  £632.02 on Saturday.


Thanks to all the shoppers for their donations and the volunteers for taking the time to do the collection.

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Catch up

Last weekend the Branch were at the Marston Green Flower and Vegetable show. A wonderful surprise was two cheque donations to the value of £290.


Next weekend 31 August a contingent from the branch will be at Exmouth  for Rodger Withers  Silver badge award.


If you are free this weekend go to the Exmouth lifeboat open day 10am to 4pm both days. The Shannon will be leaving at 3.30 to do a demo at the Dawlish Air Show

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Concentric Pumps Open Day

Yesterday we attended the Concentric Pumps open day for their staff.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather which meant that all the attractions for the children were available, inflatables, climbing walls, bungee trampolines etc.

We were able to raise £163.57 through souvenir sales and quite a few children visited the publicity lifeboat to hear about what the RNLI does for people.