AN AXED lifeboat crew have got their own back on the RNLI – by posing naked on one of their boats.
The volunteer crew of St Abbs have been locked in a bitter battle with the RNLI since May when they were told their lifeboat station would be scrapped.
After months of protests the 104-year-old station shut in September and the boat was redeployed.
But the St Abbs team had the last laugh by posing for a nude calendar shot on the lifeboat before the RNLI could take it away.
Now pictures of the bare-faced crew on the boat – preserving their modesty with RNLI helmets and lifejackets – have been published in a calendar to raise money for an independent lifeboat at St Abbs.
The RNLI described the stunt as “cheeky” but said they wished the St Abbs team well with their fundraising.
As well as the lifeboat crew, the calendar also features other local businessmen and women baring all to show their support.
Sue Dewhurst – who organised the project – said: “We wanted the money raised from selling the calendar to go to the St Abbs lifeboat but just before we were due to go to print the RNLI announced their decision to close the station.
“St. Abbs is a beautiful place to visit, to fish, to dive, to sail and to walk but many of these activities are made safer by having a lifeboat on hand. It is also a working harbour where the fishermen need to be kept safe too.
“So now it’s even more important that the calendar raises funds for the new independent lifeboat.
“The pictures were taken by local photographer Kevin O’Brien, and he has done a fantastic job of capturing the beauty of the area, rather than just being pictures of some middle-aged people with no clothes on.”
“We hope you like our ‘cheeky’ Views of St. Abbs.”
Richard Smith, a spokesman for the RNLI, said: “‘It is perhaps a little bit cheeky of them to pose on an RNLI lifeboat to raise money for an independent lifeboat, however the charity wishes them success with their fundraising.”
The RNLI said it believed resources could be better used elsewhere.
But the volunteer crew of the station and community groups were up in arms against the decision.
They claimed that in its 104 years of service, the boat had saved 226 lives – calling it a “vital” addition to the local Berwickshire coastline for swimmers, divers and fishermen.
The RNLI closed the station in an emotional ceremony on September 8 – but less than a month later the crew of volunteers announced that they would begin fundraising for their own independent lifeboat.
Speaking at the launch of the crew’s campaign, organiser Alistair Crowe, the former RNLI operations manager, said: “Our job as a lifeboat crew is to continue to save lives on this coast. A lifeboat at St Abbs is not a luxury it is an essential public safety requirement.
“For anyone in trouble at sea it is not about the flag on the boat, it is all about the skill and knowledge of the crew.