Your chance to save lives

Members of Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, Michael Lister (front), James Henderson and Philip Smith help launch their latest recruiting drive.
Members of Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, Michael Lister (front), James Henderson and Philip Smith help launch their latest recruiting drive.
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FROM stranded dog walkers to ship rescues, courageous volunteers are needed to help save lives off the Wearside coast.

The shore-based Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (SVLB) is on the look-out for new members for its search and rescue team.

Based in Roker, the organisation was formed in 1877 and is one of only three remaining life brigades in the country, alongside South Shields and Tynemouth.

Members are on call to assist the Coastguard 24 hours a day with incidents.

Recruits will be taught the latest techniques, including coastal searches and co-ordinated cliff and sea rescues involving other emergency services.

“We are always keen to meet new members,” said member Phil Smith. “The SVLB is a great local service and is embedded in Sunderland’s history.

“It’s been running for over 130 years and we are looking for new members so we can continue into the future.”

Mr Smith said the SVLB – which famously played a key role in saving the crew of the Loch Cree after the vessel ran into trouble off the Sunderland coast in 1877 – is looking to expand it 15-strong team.

“We are essentially looking for between 10 and 15 new members,” he said. “For the search and rescue team, people need to be physically fit, although they can be pretty much any age.

“They will be fully trained up by us and given proper support and guidance.

“We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who could maybe cover the daytime hours, when many people are at work.

“This would perhaps be best suited to those who work shifts.

“We are also keen to speak to anyone interested in joining our coast watch, museum or fund-raising team, where physical fitness is not essential.”

The brigade meets every Wednesday at 7pm at its headquarters at the Watch House, Pier View, Roker.

For more information, call 0798 866 0939 or visit www.sunderlandvlb.com