Wiganer Elissa makes history taking charge of lifeboat station

Elissa Williams
Elissa Williams

A Wigan woman has made history by becoming the first female helmsman in a lifeboat station’s 150-year existence.

Elissa Williams is the first woman to take command of the RNLI station in Abersoch, North Wales, since its inception in 1869.

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The 32-year-old, who originally hails from Wigan, has been a crew member at the small fishing village’s station for 14 years, and is also a member of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) Flood Rescue team.

She balances her RNLI role with her day job as Head of Employment Law at Gamlins Law in North Wales.

Elissa said: “It feels amazing to have passed the final assessments.

“It feels like an immense responsibility and I am absolutely inspired by the high standards of professionalism of the other helms.

“I am honoured to be the first female helmsman at the station.”

She added: “I am inspired by the high standards of professionalism of the other helms.

“None of this would have been possible without the continued support of my colleagues at Gamlins Law which gives me the time off for training and other responsibilities with the RNLI.”

Elissa was one of two new helmsman to be appointed at Abersoch, along with Guy Williams.

The RNLI describes the duty of a helmsman “to use utmost endeavours to safeguard and rescue the lives of those in danger, whilst having regard for the safety of their crew.”

Find out more at rnli.org