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'It helped me find my footing with my sexuality' – Kessock RNLI crew member features in 200th anniversary podcast series

By Erin Miller

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Olivia Davison.
Olivia Davison.

Kessock RNLI crew member Olivia Davison – who initially thought that she could never "be that person" – is the latest to feature on the RNLI "200 Voices" podcast.

She learnt that she could "push the boundaries" and "be more than I think I can be" after volunteering with the charity.

Olivia is the main feature of today's episode – the 39th in the series, entitled "Rich Rewards: Olivia Davison".

She discovered the RNLI in Brighton in 2017 and joined the Kessock RNLI after moving to the Highlands last summer.

She emphasises the support and camaraderie she found with the charity.

Olivia recalled her first visit to a station: "I popped down to the lifeboat station and met Conrad and looked around. I just remember thinking this is awesome, all the crew were so awesome and lovely but the whole time I was like 'it is not for me, I obviously can’t do this'… I just didn’t see myself in that role whatsoever.

"A handful of weeks later, Conrad messaged me again saying, the bootcamp starts in January, would you like to sign up? And thank goodness he texted me. I was like, I will give it a go, what is the worst that can happen and six-and-a-half years later I am still crew and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me."

Olivia also revealed how the RNLI helped her to find herself as a person, grow in confidence and take pride in her sexuality. She found that it was a community in which she felt welcomed as her true self: “It really cemented for me that I could be who I wanted to be and that I can be that person. It made me embrace who I was. I grew confidence, I grew self-esteem, a sense of pride with the lifeboats and that went hand-in-hand with my sexuality.

“The lifeboats I think really developed me as a person but also helped me find my footing with my sexuality too in a very weird way. The RNLI is 100 per cent the best thing I have ever done, after meeting my partner of course, Laura, she is number one of course. It has done so much in terms of my character, my confidence, it has developed it.”

The podcast series is available across all podcast platforms and the RNLI’s website.

The series will run until the RNLI's 200th anniversary on March 4, 2024.

There will be features from survivors, supporters, volunteers, lifeguards, celebrity ambassadors and historians.

RNLI Strategic content manager, Rory Stamp said: "We knew we had to do something really special to mark the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, which is such a monumental milestone.

"200 Voices is an incredible collection of stories that are emotive, powerful, inspiring and heart-warming. The series gives us a chance to hear from a whole variety of amazing people who have played a part in or been touched by our lifesaving charity."

The series is produced by Dan Holland, a former lifeboat press officer at Kessock.

Tomorrow’s episode "Pulling Through" features another Scottish female crew member when in RNLI Peterhead’s Sarah Paterson talks about being crowned Miss European, and the reactions she gets when people discover she’s a lifeboat crew member.

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