Glamour, glitz and bubbles were the order of the day at a recent charity function at Aberdeen’s Douglas Hotel which raised an incredible £20,000 for the RNLI.
The event was organised by Audrey Wood and her family who tragically lost their son Stuart in the Bond helicopter disaster in 2009. Over the years since the disaster, the family have been actively fundraising for the RNLI who had teams involved in the search for the helicopter.
John Lawrie Group Systems Manager, Robbie Coull, was one of the brave group of RNLI volunteers who donned their finest dancing gear and performed a knock-out medley in front of the 250-strong crowd of ladies. It’s not the first time that Robbie and his fellow lifeboat men have entertained such a crowd. In previous years, the crew have danced to Beyonce’s hits and also performed the Full Monty (tasteful version!).
Robbie has worked for the John Lawrie Group for 10 years and has been an RNLI volunteer coxswain since July 2002. Robbie carries a pager at all times and is called out approximately 40 times a year.
He says: “John Lawrie Group has a good understanding of my commitment to the RNLI. As a standby coxswain, if my pager goes off I just have to go.
Having grown up in Buckie, Robbie says he always wanted to join the RNLI.
“My whole family is connected to the sea either through the fishing industry or the Merchant Navy. We all have an affinity to the sea and it’s a comfortable environment for me.”
Over the years, Robbie has been involved in hundreds of operations including sailing and surfing accidents, medivacs, cliff falls, suicides, and missing people. He has volunteered at stations across Scotland, such as Shetland and Tobermory, and he often takes holidays in order to cover at other locations.
The sea clearly holds no fear for Robbie and he thoroughly enjoys being part of an organisation which helps people who need assistance usually through no fault of their own.
Robbie Coull after wowing the audience at the RNLI fundraiser
“Fear? I’m not scared of the sea but you have to respect it. There are situations you’ll get yourself into and you simply have to get yourself out. It’s a way of life,” Robbie explains.
There are currently 20 volunteers at the Aberdeen RNLI station and Robbie says there is never a shortage of people wanting to join.
“Work pulls people in all directions and people come and go in Aberdeen. It’s good though because we get a lot of different ideas and initiatives at the station.”
John Lawrie Group’s Financial Director, Charlie Parker, says the company is extremely supportive of Robbie’s RNLI role; “We are all very proud of Robbie’s dedication to the RNLI and his heroism over the years. It takes courage and dauntlessness to do what Robbie does and we have nothing but praise for him. He is also a tireless fundraiser for the charity.”
Audrey Wood and her family have organised the ‘Glamour, Glitz and Bubbles’ event for the past three years and have raised more than £100,000 for the RNLI. The money primarily went to the Fraserburgh and Peterhead stations who were involved in the 2009 search operation. Funds have also gone to assist operations in Aberdeen, Buckie and Macduff.
She says; "We have found Robbie to be true to his nickname "Bubbles." He loves champagne and is indeed full of bubbles!He is full of fun and makes us all laugh. He's like a shining star that would light a dark room.
"We were introduced to Robbie three years ago when I went to meet the Aberdeen RNLI about raising money for the volunteers. He has become a good friend and although he is always the highlight of our event, he also has a very sensitive side to him. He is extremely passionate about the RNLI and one of the "Heroes of the Sea" in our eyes."