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North Wales solicitor makes history becoming RNLI station’s first female helmsman

A North Wales solicitor has made history by becoming the first ever female helmsman at her lifeboat station.

Elissa Thursfield, head of employment law at Gamlins Law, achieved the landmark after passing a series of tests and assessments with flying colours.

It means she can now take command of the Atlantic 85 lifeboat at Abersoch RNLI lifeboat station.

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’.

Elissa has been a crew member at the station for 14 years. Since 2014, she has also been a member of the flood rescue team and serves as the station’s press officer. In addition, she is a community first responder.

Abersoch lifeboat has been saving lives at sea in the waters around the small fishing village for 150 years.

Elissa said: “I am thrilled to have passed the final assessments and to have become the station’s first female helmsman.

“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.”

Ron Davison, Managing Director of Gamlins Law, said: “We believe passionately in the importance of our lawyers playing an active role in their local communities.

“Elissa is a fantastic example of someone who has consistently demonstrated a desire to go the extra mile in her community, while also fulfilling her role as a director and head of employment law at Gamlins Law.

“We were only too happy to give her the time she required in order to achieve such a notable and historic success.”