Littlehampton RNLI volunteer gets ready to spend Christmas on call

RNLI volunteer Bea Homer is getting ready to spend her first Christmas on call at Littlehampton lifeboat station – after swapping roles with her partner who was previously on the crew for nine years.

Bea, who joined the station as shore crew in February, will have her eye on her pager during the festivities, while partner Ian Foden, who stood down from being RNLI crew earlier this year, will take over duties at home preparing the Christmas roast.

Becoming crew has been a dream come true for Bea who grew up in Selsey.

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She used to watch the maroons go up to alert the town’s lifeboat to launch and was so impressed that at ten years old she undertook a sponsored walk to raise funds for the RNLI.

Bea Homer, who first raised money for the RNLI aged 10, has continued her fundraising ventures. Photo: Beth Brooks

When she moved to Littlehampton last year she finally got the chance to join the crew, starting as shore crew, helping launch and recover the lifeboat, and now as a trainee crew member on the lifeboats.

Bea, who works as a management accountant for the NHS, said: “I didn’t imagine at ten years old I would end up at 44 bouncing around at sea.

“I was a bit worried and anxious to start with, but as soon as we exited the harbour it was just amazing. You can’t describe that feeling.”

Partner Ian has already had to get used to Bea dashing off a moments’ notice. The couple have family coming over for Christmas this year but it will be a new experience with Bea now on the crew.

Bea Homer who will be on call for Littlehampton RNLI for the first time this Christmas. Photo: RNLI

“It will be the first year for me where I’ll be leaving the turkey and leaving him to it,” she said. “It is very much, you go, you drop whatever point of the roast you are at. You just have to go.

“He is incredibly supportive, it’s fantastic. I don’t think you can volunteer in this role without the absolute support of your partner.”

Bea is one of thousands of RNLI volunteers who will be on call this Christmas and is asking people to support the charity’s Christmas appeal.

Over the past decade, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 1,200 times during the festive period. The charity said these rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters.

Bea Homer who will be on call for Littlehampton RNLI for the first time this Christmas. Photo: RNLI

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas appeal can do so online, via the website.

Bea Homer on board the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat. Photo: Beth Brooks