History made at Cullercoats RNLI

The first female helm has been appointed in Cullercoats RNLI’s 170 year history.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 12:41 pm
Anna Heslop, the first female helm at Cullercoats RNLI.

Crew member Anna Heslop has passed out as a helm on the station's Atlantic 85 class lifeboat.

Anna joined the crew when she was 17, after witnessing a person in trouble in the water at Whitley Bay, where she called the ‘sea police’ to come and carry out a rescue.

At the invitation of the crew, she was invited to see what the RNLI do first hand and joined up.

In the intervening years, Anna has passed as competent crew, tractor driver and most recently as helm.

Anna has dedicated herself to saving lives at sea through her voluntary work as a crew member and assessor at Cullercoats RNLI, as well as being the Face-to-Face Fund Raising Manager for the RNLI in the North East.

Now with another string to her bow, Anna will command the search and rescue vessel on call outs and continue her work training and assessing crew.

Cullercoats RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Frank Taylor said: "It is a tremendous achievement for Anna to pass her Helm training plan and to do so, as she has, with flying colours.

"We are so proud of her success and that she has become the first female helm at Cullercoats.”

Anna said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been passed out as helm and I am so grateful for the support I have received from the crew, my friends and family.

"I’m very proud to be the first female helm at our station as I hope it encourages more women to join the crew.”