First female Hovercraft Commander at RNLI Hunstanton

First female Hovercraft Commander at RNLI Hunstanton
Pictured: Charlie Parfitt. Photo credit: RNLI Hunstanton

Hunstanton resident and lifeboat volunteer Charlie Parfitt has become the RNLI’s first female Hovercraft Commander. Here, she tells Town and Around all about volunteering for the RNLI and about this momentous achievement.

Charlie says: “I moved to Hunstanton just over 4 years ago. Having always had an interest in the sea, I was really keen to get involved in the RNLI.”

“After training as Crew on both the Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat and Inshore Rescue Hovercraft, I then progressed to being a Pilot on the Hovercraft and then trainee Helm and Commander.”

“When I first joined Hunstanton Lifeboat Station as prospective Crew, one of the first things I was able to do was fly the Hovercraft. This week I was able to take the Hovercraft out on exercise as Commander and instruct one of our new Crew members through their first experience of flying.”

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work towards being a Commander and to have the support of my Station and fellow Crew mates, and extremely proud to be part of the RNLI and its history.”

Shaun Edwards, Area Lifesaving Manager for north Norfolk, said: “What Charlie has achieved is down to her own hard work determination, expert training and no small amount of skill. Everyone at Hunstanton is incredibly proud of her.”

“The RNLI is taking strides to become more representative of the communities it serves, and I hope Charlie’s story can inspire more women to consider volunteering.”

The inception of the RNLI station at Old Hunstanton was in 1867 with the old pulling lifeboat. It closed in 1931 but was reopened in 1979 and now has a B-class Atlantic 85 lifeboat and a Hovercraft on station.

From Easter to October the station is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and every Sunday morning from 8.30am till 12pm to visitors wishing to tour the station and to see what their donations go towards.

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