RNLI threatens to “bring in big guns” against Facebook page opposing St Abbs closure


LIFEBOAT chiefs have threatened to shut down a Facebook page which is campaigning to save a doomed station.

The ‘Rnli Scotland’ page carries a big banner showing support for the ill-fated St Abbs station in Berwickshire.

The unofficial page has upset the Perth-based RNLI, who threatened yesterday to “bring in the big guns” to get it shut down or changed.

The threat was branded hypocritical by St Abbs volunteers, who have saved 226 lives over the years and been awarded bravery medals for their efforts in the North Sea.

The Facebook page which the RNLI has threatened possible legal action over


inshore lifeboat Helen and Ian Tytler D-608 heading towards the The increasingly bitter row began in May when the RNLI announced it was closing the 104-year-old station following a review on the best use of resources.

Twenty volunteers responded by threatening to set up their own service.

The RNLI say the Facebook page is a “false representation” of the organisation’s views and are “looking into having it changed”.

The unknown protesters behind the page want to force a rethink by the Dorest-based RNLI.

They said: “We thank you for all your support to keep St Abbs lifeboat station open. Let’s hope we can change their minds, 500 miles away in Poole.”

They also uploaded a picture of a lifeboat with the message ‘I support the campaign to keep the St Abbs Lifeboat Station open.’

A spokesman for RNLI Scotland said: “Our social media teams are looking into the page and trying to find out who owns it.
“It is false to say it is a representation of the organisation’s views. We are trying to peacefully resolve the matter before we have to bring in the big guns – lawyers etc – to have it changed or shut down.

“We decided several years ago not to have a national Facebook page for the RNLI. We don’t know who is behind this.”

St Abbs volunteers have revealed they too have “no idea” who is behind the page, but appreciate the support they have received from it.

Crew committee member Euan Gibson said: “It’s nice to get all the support we can – whether it be from local people, lifeboat crews or divers. We’ve tried getting in touch with the owners of the page but haven’t heard back.”

However, he has also suggested double standards on the part of the RNLI.

“They kept quiet when this page was giving them a bit of free publicity,” he said. “But now that it’s backing our station they decide they want to shut it down. I hope that doesn’t happen.”

St Abbs harbour, an area popular with divers, will be served by a station at Eyemouth – two miles away.

The crew have said that the decision would risk lives and “rip the heart out” of the fishing village.