Moelfre Lifeboat Crewman Wins RNLI Photography Award

by Sue Beesley

When Andy Jeffrey upped sticks, and moved from his home in Warrington to take a position as engineer at Anglesey Aluminium five years ago, becoming a voluntary crew member for Moelfre RNLI lifeboat was probably furthest from his mind.

But moving to Moelfre and becoming involved in community life, meant that the work of the local lifeboat crew always featured highly in his consciousness.

It wasn't long before he became involved, initially volunteering to help out on the slip with the launch and recovery of the lifeboats.

It was only a matter of time before he became a fully fledged crewmember and is now regularly on call along with the other volunteer members who dedicate their time to the lifeboats.

Andy is also a member as Anglesey Aluminium ‘s recently formed First Response Team whose purpose is to be on hand to respond to any emergency, which presents itself at the site.

As part of this team role he has qualified industrial firefighting and first aid which also complements his work on the lifeboats.

Andy recently shot to fame when he was hailed runner-up in the best photograph of RNLI rescue category of the RNLI Pentax photographer of the year competition, beating budding photographers around the coast of the UK, and Ireland.

Andy who was beaten only to the category top spot by Rusty Marshall, from the RNLI lifeboat station in west Mercia Essex, captured an impressive shot of a crew member attempting to right a catamaran in blustery conditionso on 25th of July 2007.

The vessel was finally recovered by a combination of the Moelfre RNLI all-weather lifeboat towing her and the inshore lifeboat crew righting and steadying her.

Andy said: "As the weather conditions had deteriorated so badly, attempts were made to provide shelter with the all-weather lifeboat.

During this time, I was able to run off a number of shots with the on-board Digital camera, with a sequence of shots illustrating how RNLI crew members are trained to right in catamaran.

The camera is used on our lifeboat on a regular basis and not only helps with training, but also brings home to the public some of the conditions RNLI crews regularly face.

The photograph was entered on my behalf so I was really surprised to find I had made the final of the photographer of the year competition.

And I'm absolutely thrilled to keep Moelfre lifeboat on the map by being judged runner-up."

In his spare time, Andy is an enthusiastic member of the Moelfre Boat Club formed 18 months ago.

With the assistance of a community facilities grant from the island of Anglesey County Council, the club has purchased a Celtic rowing boat, designed specifically for rowing at sea or in estuaries.

Their new acquisition, Seren Gobaith, has been named after one of the old Moelfre lifeboats.

The club meets on a weekly basis and encourages all ages and fitness levels.

The club likes to foster the community and social aspects although there is a Celtic Rowing League in existence and competing could become a realistic possibility in the future.

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