Sad News from Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat

It is with great sadness that we have to share that our President Lou Parsons, one of the founder members of Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat as an independent service and rescue charity, passed away on Thursday 19th March 2020.

Lou was a formidable character who knew this coastline, and how to handle it, incredibly well. He was able to share this knowledge with a large number of volunteers serving with the base and boat crews over the years, and his sense of humour in doing so will be deeply missed.

Everyone here is very grateful for Lou’s life-long dedication to Pett Level Independent Rescue charity and for everything he has tirelessly carried out for the Association across the decades.

Even more sadly, we have to share that due to the current restrictions on gatherings, we have no news on funeral or memorial events for Lou. Restrictions on gatherings and its impact on our Sunday sessions  means that we’re also unable to open a book of condolence at the boathouse.

However, as soon as the current situation changes, we will share updates and information so that everyone who remembers Lou as part of our rescue charity will have the chance to pay their respects.

In the meantime, the flag at the boathouse flies at half-mast as a mark of our deepest respect, and our thoughts are with Lou’s family and friends at this very sad time. Rest in peace, Lou, from all of your friends – past at present – at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat – Covid-19 (CoronaVirus) Update

In light of recent developments around CoronaVirus (Covid-19), we want to keep you informed of the steps we’re taking to protect our community and our team, whilst remaining rescue-ready, as needed.

We are closely monitoring government’s CoronaVirus guidelines and advice and, in order to act accordingly, we have taken the following steps in respect of our upcoming events and activities:


  • Our AGM, originally scheduled for 19th April 2020 is now postponed until further notice. As soon as the government advises that a gathering of this type is safe to hold, we will announce a new date.
  • Our Open Day, scheduled for 24th May 2020 is also postponed. At the moment, we are hoping we can reschedule the event to combine with the proposed date for our 50th Anniversary celebrations – 12th September 2020 – providing it is safe to do so. Again, we will act in accordance with government and health authority guidance, nearer the time and if necessary, will reschedule again.
  • With regards to our fundraising activities and presence at local community events, we are following advice and respecting the need to cancel these for the foreseeable future. In all cases, we are acting in our community’s interests, as stipulated by the government.
Operational services during the CoronaVirus crisis

For our operational rescue services, the plan is as follows:

  • As a trained rescue service, we remain ready to support our community and will still launch as required to help those in difficulty on the water or coastline. Any of our volunteers who are actively in quarantine will not be involved in any rescues.
  • Our Sunday presence at the boathouse will be maintained at a ‘back to essentials’ level. This will involve a rota of a maximum of 3 volunteers at any time, keeping to advice about reasonable separation as much as possible, and wearing gloves throughout their time at the boathouse. Activities on Sundays will be restricted to the essentials to ensure that we can maintain service, as checking the vehicles and maintaining equipment is essential for keeping us rescue-ready to serve the community.
  • Although we usually welcome visitors during our Sunday sessions, we are sad to say that the boathouse will be closed to visitors, even if it may appear to be ‘open’ whilst our smaller teams are there for equipment checks. We appreciate your understanding over this.
  • In all operations, including any ‘shouts’ over this extreme period, our teams will be supporting all efforts to minimise potential infection in our communities. This includes regular sanitising of our base, boathouse and equipment. We are also following advice around hand washing and hygiene in accordance with Public Health guidelines.

We appreciate the challenging situation that everyone is finding themselves in. Please be assured that although Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat volunteers may not have our usual visible presence in the community, we’re still working hard behind the scenes to keep our service ready for action as needed.

In the meantime, we will be guided by government announcements in any future actions, and do our best to maintain the health and safety of our members and of the communities we serve.

In terms of sources of reliable information at this difficult time, we recommend the Government’s dedicated CoronaVirus pages at This also has a link to the official NHS website. 

Please monitor our social media and website for further announcements and updates as necessary. You can also use these to contact us: Twitter: @PLIRBRescue or Facebook: @PettLevelRescueBoat

Support from the Community – Unexpected Charity Donations

Now, although we value all support and charity donations we receive equally, there are times when support comes along very unexpectedly and in a way that just blows us away. So this blog post is dedicated to Anonymous Antony …

In the past week, we received the anonymous donation of a bag of pennies and the note (pictured) above.

We’ve got to be honest, there’s real joy in receiving a lovely surprise like this. After all:

  • This wonderful 7 year old has gone out of his way to save his pennies – £1.20 worth – with giving in mind.
  • With all of the coverage given to other national charity fundraising campaigns, we’re touched that Antony and his family have recognised that an independent rescue charity such as ours relies solely on its own fundraising. And Antony has responded to this by saving up specifically for Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.
  • Look at that message! Antony’s not just thinking of us and what we need to do in order to be able to help others, he’s also recognising that others need the help we provide. That’s thoughtful on so many levels.
  • And of course, our volunteers don’t do what they do in order to receive accolades and appreciation, we provide our services because they’re a necessary part of keeping this coastline safe. But how lovely to receive that special thank you message too!

So, it’s safe to say that we were blown away to receive this donation and its accompanying note last week. And, no pressure, but if Antony or his family would like to get in touch so that we could say a personal thank you, we’d be delighted.

As ever, everyone at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is grateful for all charity donations. We really couldn’t do without additional funds as these not only help towards our running costs but also enable us to replace and update our equipment as needed. Thanks so much to everyone, and especially Antony.

Open Day 2020

Yes, it’s come around again already and we’re super busy with preparations for our main charity fundraising event of the year … and of course, this year is a very special one for us!


Holding our Open Day on the May Spring Bank Holiday weekend last year certainly proved to be a good move for us, so this year it’s same again, as the poster above shows!

Would you like to support our charity fundraising event?

There are many ways to support the PLIRB Open Day – including with preparations and through helping on the day. Our volunteers are already putting in the extra hours to get the preparations underway, and we’re currently looking for additional support if possible through:

  • Donations of good quality items for us to sell
  • Donations of items, services or vouchers for our Grand Raffle
  • Donations of refreshment items – cakes and other treats are welcome
  • Getting in touch with us to volunteer to help on the day
  • Coming along on the day, to spend time with the team, check out the stalls and have a go in the raffle!

If you are not able to donate anything or come along on the day, there are still other ways to support us. You might like to …


  • Share our blog posts and social media posts, to help us publicise our Open Day.
  • Tell your friends and colleagues about us, so that they can be aware and even be there!
  • Visit our boathouse on a Sunday morning to pick up a poster to display for us (check our social media and we’ll let you know when these are available for collection.
Why our charity fundraiser event is important for us

As an independent rescue boat charity, we receive no central or government funding, and no subsidies for providing beach safety and rescue services in our local community. We raise all of our running, equipment, maintenance and training costs ourselves and welcome sponsorship and fundraising support from benefactors, national corporations, local businesses and thoughtful individuals.

We greatly value our role in the local community and our annual Open Day is our favourite opportunity for fundraising because it’s when we can open our doors, set up stalls and a show and invite our community to join with us for a day which puts the FUN into fundraising.

If you would like to know more about us, and why our fundraising is so important, please click the button below for our fundraising and donations page.

And of course, 2020 is particularly special for us because it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

We’d be absolutely blown away if we could achieve a total on the day which includes a 5-0 at the beginning, so if you think you can help in any way, please do get in touch. Meanwhile, please keep checking back for updates on progress and for news on the activities lined up for Open Day!

We truly appreciate all help we receive and look forward to sharing our day with you.


Support from the Community – Robin Hood Bonfire Society, Icklesham

Last week we received the kind invitation to visit the Robin Hood pub in Icklesham, to receive a charity donation. The event was the combination of a charity presentation and quiz night and, although we were a little short of quizzers, we were very pleased to be invited and to be offered a charity donation of funds raised by the hard working Robin Hood Bonfire Society.

Receiving the cheque, PLIRB volunteers John Brooker, Kev Nuttall, Shaun O’Hara and Nigel Carter.

All the events held by the Robin Hood Bonfire Society raise funds for local charities, and we were delighted to receive a cheque for £350 to support the work of Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat. We have considerable running costs as well as plenty of fundraising projects for new equipment, training and to support our community activities, so this kind of donation makes a real difference to what we can afford to do.

After the presentations, the evening then moved onto refreshments and the quiz. As usual, our team was enthusiastic and had a great deal of fun but of course were well beaten by local quiz teams! Note to selves: get into training for this quiz in the future!

We sincerely appreciate all of the hard work the Robin Hood Bonfire Society do to support local charities such as ours and for the local community as a whole. Looking forward to 2020’s display – we’re sure it’ll go with a bang, so don’t forget to follow the Robin Hood Bonfire Society Facebook page so you can be aware of the date as soon as it’s announced.

Thank you so much to the Robin Hood Bonfire Society, for the charity donation and also for inviting us to their fun evening, it’s great spending time with you!



Support From The Community and Fairlight Stores

Graeme and Leonie Gambrell of Fairlight Stores are always ready to support our charity and, thanks to them, 2020 has kicked off with another donation.

As we’ve shared previously, Graeme and Leonie are regular supporters of Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat as an independent rescue charity. Fairlight Stores hosts one of our donation bottles and encourage customers of the store to donate their small change. This time around, Graeme and Leonie and their customers have managed to raise over £100 for us!




Members of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat committee, Treasurer Stella Dunn and committee member David Martin, visited Graeme and Leonie recently to present a certificate and a PLIRB calendar as a thank you to this great couple who always remember us as one of their local community causes.

And of course, whilst Graeme and Leonie look after the donations, it’s those members of the Fairlight community and customers of the Fairlight Stores who contribute many of the donations. It’s proof indeed that small change can be a big way to support our charity and we very much appreciate the Fairlight community supporting us.

Thank you all very much.