Plucky Pam helps man Sidmouth Lifeboat

PUBLISHED: 13:30 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:59 18 June 2010

WHEN she worked as a seafront hotel receptionist, Pam Taylor would see Sidmouth Lifeboat rush past the door to be launched and wish she could become involved.

WHEN she worked as a seafront hotel receptionist, Pam Taylor would see Sidmouth Lifeboat rush past the door to be launched and wish she could become involved.

"I felt helpless that I couldn't do something to help and I went along a few times and sat and watched the crew training," said Pam, who lives at Western Court.

Perry King, Sidmouth Lifeboat's deputy launch authority, noticed her one evening and asked if she was interested in joining the crew.

"I asked if they took girls and he said yes. I said I would come next week and I came and was hooked."

Pam wasn't the first female crew member for the independent lifeboat charity, but she is the only one there at present.

"I was worried I wouldn't fit in because they were all guys, but they really warmed to me and wanted to look after me. Now they treat me like one of the guys," said Pam, 44.

She has undertaken various trainings, including advanced first aid, Entonox and Oxygen use and defibrillation, boat training and her radio licence.

Training is on-going, with regular refreshers in first aid.

"Fortunately I don't have to use them very often," said Pam. "We have a lot of training at sea. Last week I had to swim from the boat to get a 'casualty' and swim back to the boat.

"We also do capsize drill at the RNLI headquarters in Poole which looked really scary. "They take the utmost care to make sure of your safety. If you are at sea and something happens everyone on the boat knows how to right it."

She has encountered rough seas and been seasick, but now she has found her sea legs

Pam, who wants to become navigator using GPS radar and radio equipment on the lifeboat, tries to use the radio as much as possible when at sea.

"I used to work for BT and was told to speak on the phone with no accent and a clear voice, so it comes naturally to me. I'm from Stafford but I have ironed out the accent. Sometimes the coastguard calls me 'Ma'am'.

"I like it, it is nice to have a bit of respect!"

Pam changed jobs to enable her to go on 'shouts' and now works at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

She mostly does night callouts and says: "It is just great when you are out on a shout. I am usually jolly, but it's like a switch is flicked inside and I go into serious mode and concentrate on what I am doing.

"We have got to be prepared to respond to every emergency, you don't know what it is going to turn into."

You need to be fit and able to swim to be a crew member, but says Pam: "It is exhilarating and very worthwhile to the community. It is just as exciting on the shore side. You are a cog in a big wheel.


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