The life-saving charity – The Glasgow Humane Society – has launched a £100,000 appeal on its 221st birthday. It needs a new patrol boat and support vehicle as well as equipment to help save the lives of people they rescue from the River Clyde.
Launching the appeal on Tuesday 16 August, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Bob Winter said:’The Glasgow Humane Society is an important and well-loved society to which thousands owe their lives. We owe a big debt of gratitude to their officers and the volunteer lifeguards who patrol the River Clyde and our city’s waterways seven days a week to make them safer for us all.
In the last ten years the Society has saved 201 people and prevented 611 from drowning. So it is with a great sense of pride and purpose that we launch the Riverman Appeal. I hope the people of Glasgow and the business community will respond generously to raise the £100,000 to replace and upgrade the Society’s life-saving equipment.’
Supporting the Lord Provost at the launch was actress Blythe Duff of STV’s Taggart and actor Tom Urie of BBC’s River City drama. Both programmes feature the city and the River.
Donations to the Riverman Appeal can be made by text to 70070 quoting RIVE16 and the amount you wish to donate (for example RIVE16£5) or by paypal through the charity’s website www.glasgowhumanesociety.com or by cheque or postal order to the Glasgow Humane Society, Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1BA
Society Chairman John Park said: ‘This is our first-ever appeal to raise money. The Society still has a big role to play in making the city’s river and waterways safer and in preventing water accidents. We are an ever-present, voluntary resource to the statutory emergency services and always on hand for the hundreds of sports and boat users on the Clyde each week and the many thousands who use the waterway walkways.’
Set up in 1790 with a £200 legacy from local merchant James Coulter the aim was ‘prevention of accidents, rescue and recovery’ of people on the waterways. Drownings in the Clyde were much more common than today.
Affectionately known as “the Riverman” the Society’s officers and volunteer lifeguards have saved thousands of lives.
Since 1889 it has had only three senior officers – George Geddes 2nd (1889 – 1932) Benjamin Parsonage (1928 – 1979) and his son George Parsonage (1979 – till present day). They have passed down their knowledge of the Clyde and the city’s waterways.
Benjamin Parsonage and the Society is highlighted in a special display on the ground floor of the newly opened Riverside Museum. It features “The Bennie”, a river rescue rowing boat designed by Benjamin that will not capsize when rescuing or recovering someone from the water.
George Parsonage, the current Society officer, started at 14 years of age saving lives on the Clyde with father Benjamin. He has saved over 1500 people and recovered over 500 bodies. His rescue work on the Clyde and other waterways has been nationally and internationally recognised.
He is assisted by Antony Coia, who has been in post for five years, and a team of more than 30 volunteer lifeguards.
Apart from rescuing people and recovering bodies the Society personnel also help when floods strike. They have used their knowledge and experience in floods in the city’s East End and in Bearsden and Paisley’s Ferguslie Park.
A registered charity, the Society works closely with all the statutory agencies and local authorities