First female RNLI crew member steps into top job

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 June 2014

Pete Holder and Charlie Conroy.

Pete Holder and Charlie Conroy.

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THE first woman to take over the top position at Weston RNLI has become only the fifth female lifeboat operations manager in the country.

Charlie Conroy.Charlie Conroy.

Charlie Conroy, aged 37, has spent her first week in the role after Pete Holder retired after 40 years’ service.

She was the first woman to join Weston’s crew in 1998, and spent 12 years in the boat before becoming a launching authority.

She later became involved in fundraising and educating people about the role of the RNLI.

Speaking of being Weston’s first female crew member, she said: “I never had anything other than a welcome from the rest of the crew and because of my experience I was always able to hold my own with them.”

And on her new role, Charlie added: “It’s very sad in a way because Pete Holder’s gone but equally really exciting as well.

“It has been very busy. I’m hoping things will settle down and get into a routine.

“The station has been run brilliantly for the past 20 years. There are few things I would like to change, mostly on the admin side.

“My plan is to make sure we continue to run two stations and run efficiently. We need to have the right boats and people in the right place at the right time.”

As well as her role with the RNLI, Charlie is a mother of three and works for Avon and Somerset Constabulary as a Detective Constable in the area of public protection.

Her new role with the lifesaving charity means Charlie is involved in ensuring equipment is maintained and crews are 
happy, while overseeing the entire operation.

Charlie said her work with both fundraising and education has helped her build up a better picture of how everything fits together.

She said: “I am learning how much Pete did now he is not there as a safety net.

“It’s what I needed really. I needed to have the safety net taken away to see how myself how much he did.

“And what hasn’t changed is how much everyone is willing to help, from the crew and fundraisers, or relatives of the crew.”

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