Girvan Academy pupil Sean studies with a pager by his side

Sean in his duties as a member of the Girvan Lifeboat crew.
Sean in his duties as a member of the Girvan Lifeboat crew.

A pupil at Girvan Academy is not only studying for his Higher Exams but he is also training with the Girvan Lifeboat Crew.

Sean Lowe, 17, signed up to the lifeboat crew on his 17th birthday and now sits with his pager in the classroom at school.

The teenager who is studying for Highers in Maths, English, German, Physics, Chemistry and Geography at the academy has already had a handful of shouts in his first few months as a probationer crewman.

One one occasion his pager sounded whilst he was studying at the Carrick Buildings and he ran round to the lifeboat station to help on a shout when the Girvan lifeboat responded to a man and a teenager in kayaks close to the rocky shoreline at Lendalfoot.

Sean said: “I really enjoy being involved with the charity and learning new skills. I already work with disabled children at Hand in Hand in Girvan, and I am a young leader at Ballantrae Youth Club.

“But the RNLI is different, going out to sea to help people in distress, and my first shout involved a kayaker in difficulties at Lendalfoot.

“What I would say to anyone is, give it a go, you learn different skills, it looks good on your CV and could help you land future jobs.”

Sean’s interest in joining the lifeboat crew began two years ago when Girvan Academy built a wooden rowing skiff, a project involving former Girvan lifeboat crewman Ian McClymont.

Ian, a volunteer Deputy Launching Authority with the lifeboat, said: “My aim was to encourage the young people to get interested in the water, learn about sea safety and, as Girvan is a seaside town, then I think the children should be involved in water-borne activities.

“I ran rowing classes for the school last year and Sean has progressed from that to volunteering for the RNLI.”

Girvan Academy head teacher Allan Rattray is delighted that Sean swops his schoolbooks for his lifeboat duties when a call for help comes in.

Allan said: “Like the RNLI, Girvan Academy is very much part of the community. We are therefore delighted that one of our pupils has become a crew member on the Girvan lifeboat.

“To help Sean in his duties as a crew member, he is on-call even while at school. Sean wears his pager and has already been called upon during school hours.

“It is a great achievement for Sean, considering he is the youngest operational crew member. He takes his duties seriously and is a role model for other pupils in the school.”