Lifesaving team given top honour

Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Captain Peter Lilley at the TVLB Watch House, Tynemouth.
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Captain Peter Lilley at the TVLB Watch House, Tynemouth.

A lifesaving organisation has been awarded the top honour in the borough.

Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) is to receive the Freedom of the Borough from North Tyneside Council after councillors unanimously backed a motion at a full council meeting last week.

This news came as a complete shock to us all and has been received with excitement throughout the team

Peter Lilley, TVLB captain

The rescue team are on call 24/7, 365 days a year to help in coastal or river rescues.

They were nominated by Coun Tommy Mulvenna.

Peter Lilley, TVLB captain, said: “On behalf of all the members we would like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the council.

“This news came as a complete shock to us all and has been received with excitement throughout the team.

“No one involved with the brigade does this for recognition or thanks, but that makes it equally special when such praise is received and I know I am certainly very humble to be involved with an organisation that has been recognised in this way by the council.”

The nomination read: “Over the following 150 years the Brigade has developed from only being trained in ship-to-shore Breeches Buoy Rescue to a highly specialist coastal rescue team, dealing with an average of 120 incidents per year.

“The organisation is funded from public donation and fundraising. The Brigade also offers a free museum based at Spanish Battery thus embracing the culture, history and tourism of North Tyneside.”

“It is for these reasons that I nominate them for the Freedom of the Borough and I believe they have served this borough and preceding borough by not only their dedication to duty but also with distinction, courage and valour over their past 150 years.”

Officials from the TVLB will receive the honour at a special ceremony later this year.

The TVLB was established in 1864 following the wreck of the schooner ‘Friendship’ and the new passenger steamer ‘Stanley’ on the Black Middens rocks with the loss of 32 lives.

Two crew members from the Tynemouth Lifeboat ‘Constance’ died during the course of the attempted rescue which led to the recognition for the need of a land-based rescue service.

The members, all of whom are unpaid, are trained in rope rescue, water rescue, coastal search and rescue and first aid.