AN MP spoke of how precious the lifeboat service was as he paid a visit to an RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Mike Hill, Labour MP for Hartlepool, met some of the volunteer crew and officials who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as he visited Hartlepool lifeboat station.

He was shown around the boathouse and lifeboats by assistant 2nd coxswain Matt Blanchard who said: "Mike showed a great deal of interest during his visit where he learnt some facts and figures about the station’s volunteers, our training and some of the call outs we have been involved with so far this year. He was also shown some of the equipment we use when out at sea on a shout.’

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Mr Hill added: "It’s been absolutely fascinating to see the amount of equipment, the number of volunteers and even learning how difficult it can be for a volunteer to get to the station through the traffic during a shout.

'"I’ve also learnt how many people have been rescued this year which is a tremendous amount and just shows how busy the station is and very precious to the town.

"But you have to come here to realise the amount of work that is put in by the volunteers here. The level of skills and training and having the right equipment, it all just shows how safe our seas are with the RNLI in this area. I have nothing but praise for the men and women who crew these boats.'