Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat's Female Crew

by Sue Beesley

When I first had the opportunity to meet up with Moelfre RNLI lifeboat's only female crew member I suppose I had a pre-conceived idea of what to expect.

However, Dwynwen Parry's petite appearance and slight stature belies the tough, rugged image which you conjure up in association with RNLI lifeboat crew!

This just goes to prove that mental strength, grit determination and resilience more than compensates for apparent lack of muscle.

Says Dwynwen: "There are obviously occasions when my physical strength cannot match that of my male colleagues, but when push comes to shove, it's astounding what you find you are capable of.

I recall on one occasion when circumstances put me in a situation where time was short, and I had to pull a hefty man onto a boat from the water!"

Sh recalls succinctly the adrenalin surge which kicked in and allowed her to rescue him single handedly.

"I vividly remember sitting on the slip having returned to base, in a state of complete shock at what I had just achieved."

Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat is not alone in having a female crew member and the last 5-10 years have seen a number of other stations taking at least one lady crew member in what was at one time a very male dominated occupation.

I ask how it feels to be the only female on board and whether she feels she has more to prove because of her gender?

"I have steppd into a man's world", says Dwynwen, "but have never expected them to change in order to accommodate me.

I chose to take it up and I've no right to expect to be reated differently or for them to act differently when I'm on board, and more importantly, neither would I want them to!"

It's not difficult to see how Dwynwen has become a valuable asset in her responsible roles as a helmperson on the inshore lifeboat and a navigator on the offshore boat.

She also finds that casualties who are taken on board gravitate more easily towards a female at times of acute emotional and physical stress.

Dwynwen juggles her lifeboat duties with her business, MDM Designs in Moelfre where she designs and makes bespoke furniture, as well as restoring old funiture and doing the odd bit of french polishing.

She has had her own business for ten years since returning to Moelfre where she grew up enjoying many happy, carefree hours in and around the sea, fishing from a small boat.

"I did my degree in Furniture Design and Craftmanship in High Wycombe and for a few years utilised my skill working in various countries around the world, before coming home to Moelfre and starting the business.

It was a chance remark amidst some lively banter with locals in he pub which lead to me being asked to join the Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat crew a couple of years later."

"I can just never imagine living in Moelfre, staring out to sea and not being part and parcel of that rescue mission", she states resolutely, and this for me sums up the spirited and gutsy demeanour which underpins the work of Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat crew.

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