The Lifesaving Team circa 1950


"Newbiggin has a lifesaving team of about 30 members but a surprising feature of this is that only a small section of the team are fishermen and the other members are miners! Ten of them have long service medals for over 20 years' service while the team's "No 1", Mr John Dawson* has served for over 30 years. Before him his father was connected with the life-saving team for 40 years.
And there are still more family connections. Mr. Dawson's two brothers, Thomas and George, are also members, while in addition there are brothers Sam, Fred and Alex Miller, Mr. Hunter Brown and his son, John, and Mr. W Small and his son.
The reason why miners are playing such a prominent part in such unusual work for them is no reflection on the fishing community. The local fishermen are nearly all needed for the lifeboat so consequently the life-saving team had to turn to another source for most of its recruits..
Most of the team, working at nearby Newbiggin or Lynemouth Collieries, are immediately released for duty when their services are required, should they be engaged on their pit work.
They are trained by the local Coastguards, another body of local stalwarts, who play a great part in maintaining safety on the coast."
*John Dawson, a miner at Ellington Colliery, was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1965 for 46 years' service with the Newbiggin Life-Saving Brigade.