Hemsby Inshore Rescue Service: Chris Batten

Hemsby Lifeboat Crew member: Chris Batten.Picture: James Bass

Hemsby Lifeboat Crew member: Chris Batten.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

As part of the Mercury campaign to help Hemsby Inshore Rescue Service raise the money it needs to keep saving lives offshore and on the Broads, we will be getting to know the crew, who are all volunteers, who keep the service running not just out on the water but behind the scenes too.

This week we spoke to crew member, Chris Batten.

Chris has been with Hemsby Lifeboat for one year, and lives in Hemsby. But before moving to the seaside village he lived all over the world, including in the USA and Germany.

Now, at home in Waters Lane, where Chris lives with partner Melanie Harris, he is close-by to the lifeboat station for any late night shouts.

Chris gained many of the skills he uses on the lifeboat during his time with the British Army as a platoon sergeant.

“I learnt many transferable skills,” said Chris. “Many of them gained in six years of active service tours.

“I also spent six months in command of a RIB in Central America on active service patrols.”

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Chris said this is what made him want to join the lifeboat crew.

“Apart from missing service life, I felt my skills and experience would benefit my local rescue service. It feels good to be working with a team again.”

Although Chris has only been with the service a year, he’s seen plenty of jobs. His most memorable involved helping an elderly couple.

“The wife was in difficulty and we helped get them safely to the medical team,” he said.

“Sadly she died later in hospital. But it was one of my favourites because the entire crew worked like clockwork on the boat, on the shore and back at base.

“The local community were also exemplary and helped the husband. It felt good to also get the heartfelt thanks from the medical team who were generous with their praise.”

Now, as well as volunteering for the lifeboat Chris – who has two grown-up children, Alex and Jayne – works as a director of a specialist energy sector recruitment agency based in Lowestoft.

He is also a business consultant and a published author, and has worked in the sector since his return from the USA eight years ago.

What Chris enjoys most about working with the lifeboat is the community spirit.

“It’s great to be giving back to the community that support us and being part of a dedicated and likeable team of individuals who all want the same thing; to see people safe and return those in danger back to their families.”

But Chris also stressed how vital the service is. He said: “We are independent and perform a vital role out at sea, on the broads and for flood rescue.

“There is nothing worse than seeing the distress and anguish on the faces of loved ones when things go wrong, but each penny we receive from the generosity of the public goes to saving a life and putting a smile on someone’s face.

“I can’t think of a better reason to give however small or large the donation. With better equipment we can create greater safety and more smiles. So I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helps us however they do it.

“Most of all a huge thank you to the coxswain and all the crew for volunteering their time, taking the risks and looking out for each other.”

To find out more about Hemsby Inshore Rescue Service, or to put yourself forward as a volunteer, get in contact by calling 01493 731641 or emailing contact@hemsbyinshorerescue.org.uk