How did Ipswich Town’s Cole Skuse and Martyn Waghorn get on during training with Aldeburgh RNLI?
Ipswich Town players have paid tribute to the “astonishing” volunteers who save lives at sea – after joining them in a training exercise.
Cole Skuse and Martyn Waghorn became honorary crew members with the Aldeburgh RNLI today, practising manoeuvres in an all-weather lifeboat.
The visit heralded a new partnership between the club and RNLI, which will see Saturday’s match against Bolton Wanderers dedicated to the charity and crew member Stephen Osbourne, leading the teams onto the pitch.
Midfielder Skuse said the training had given him a new appreciation for the volunteers and their “staggering” commitment. “You have to take your hat off to people like that,” he added. “It’s an astonishing thing that they do, really excellent, and if there’s anything we can do to help, then of course we would.”
The players were shown how to steer, tie knots and rescue a buoy representing a casualty overboard – with mixed results.
Skuse admitted his own attempts were not great after he ran the buoy over, but his team mate’s efforts were “way better”.
Waghorn, who plays up front for the Blues, said it was a “brilliant experience”. “It’s a lot more difficult than I thought,” he added.
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“It’s a real eye opener to see how these guys have to deal with these situations – it must be tough.”
Coxswain Karl Barber praised his new volunteers and said they would be welcome to join the crew – if manager Mick McCarthy can spare them.
“They didn’t do too badly at all,” he said. “They were good old boys, they listened well and did what they were told.”
Town will be returning the hospitality on Saturday, when the charity’s collectors will be at Portman Road raising funds to help the crews and their work.
Ben Long, community fundraising manager, said he was “thrilled” to have been invited.
“The team approached us earlier this year and said they are all admirers of the lifesaving work the RNLI does, and they would like to support us in some way,” he added.
“We’re very lucky to have been invited to have collectors at the ground on Saturday, but there’ll be a lot more than just our volunteers carrying donation buckets. One of our D-class inshore lifeboats will be available for people to see and take photographs with, and our mascot, Stormy Stan, will entertain children and pose for photos.”