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Love On The Waves In Swanage

Swanage RNLI couples 1

9:13am 13th November 2013

Love is in the air or on the waves in Swanage.

In the last 12 months 6 volunteers working for Swanage lifeboat crew have all got married.

The nuptial trend began in October last year when Lifeboat Mechanic Dave Turnbull married fiancé Angela Medland.
Earlier this year, both of the coxswain's sons, Gavin and Matt Steeden, also married their long-term partners, only three months apart from one another and the most recent wedding took place in September this year, when Senior Inshore Lifeboat Helmsman, Tom Greasty married his fiancé Charlotte Bartle.

All of the six weddings took place within Dorset's seaside town of the Swanage so that if the emergency pager was to sound during the ceremony, the crew could instantly rush to the lifeboat station.

Fortunately, none of the weddings this year were interrupted but coxswain Martin Steeden, Father of the Groom twice this year, recalls his sister-in-law's wedding in 1980 when the crew were called to a 'shout' not once but twice during the special occasion:

"My wife's father was coxswain of Swanage lifeboat at the time. It was her sister's wedding so he was due to be giving her away. There was a lifeboat shout just as the ceremony was about to begin- Vic, my father-in-law, did still walk his daughter down the aisle, but the rest of the ushers including me, had to dash off.

"My wife was left to do the ushering with our six-week-old son, Gavin, under one arm! We returned to the wedding afterwards but, from the window at the reception, the vicar spotted a boat on fire in the bay and off we all dashed again!"

All of the weddings featured at least a nod to the traditions of lifeboating. At most of the weddings, volunteer crew in 'lifeboat yellows' (the kit worn by RNLI crew) lined up outside the wedding ceremony, holding wooden oars to form an archway for the newly-weds to walk through and at two of the weddings, flowers were arranged at the reception in yellow wellies. Two of the weddings were also conducted by Rev Tony Higgins, Swanage lifeboat's official chaplain.

Dave & Angela's yellow wellies


Two of the six couples are now expecting potential future lifeboat crew of their own: the Turnbulls' baby boy is due in February next year, with Matt and Becky Steeden's baby due at the end of March.

Swanage RNLI is fundraising for a new boathouse to replace the current building, which is 137 years old. To find out more or donate visit RNLI.org/SwanageAppeal.

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