Inspiring the next generation

This weekend just gone, our town of Portishead celebrated its annual ‘Window Wanderland‘ event, where people – whether individuals, shops or community groups – create a lit display in their window that others can wander around and admire. And my fellow volunteers at the lifeboat station and I were, as usual, keen to get involved.

Window Wanderland - Portishead LBS

We wanted to come up with something that was specific to the RNLI, while recognising our distinct lack of artistic talent. And the photo shows what we came up with. Which is fairly nice, I think.

In fact, our lifeboat operations manager was so taken with it that he’s considering getting someone with more talent than me (it’s a fairly large pool) to paint it properly onto the windows.

In additon to our window display (and a much superior display in the windows of our lifeboat station shop), we also opened up the doors and had volunteers on hand to show people around. And around eighty visitors showed up to say hello, which was great, especially as it was quite nippy out.

One visiting family in particular really made my day. A couple with three young children, they’d raced up to the lifeboat station and has listened enthralled as I showed them the boat, the tractor and the associated bits of kit in the boathouse. As they were preparing to leave, one of the parents asked their daughter – who must have been about six – if she’d like to be on the lifeboat crew one day.

She looked sad for a moment and explained that she couldn’t, as she was planning to become an engineer. I told her that our crew members are all volunteers and have actual day jobs in addition to being on the crew. So it would be no problem at all for her to be an engineer and an RNLI crew member. Her face lit up and she said that, in that case, she would definitely sign up when she is old enough.

Just a fleeting conversation, to be sure. But it really made my day. And made the three hours I spent cutting out cardboard letters absolutely worthwhile.