Press release

Student represents Scotland’s beach lifeguards in 200 year RNLI ceremony

Published on 5 March 2024

A University of Dundee student has taken a leading role in an RNLI parade to mark 200 years of the charity and remember those who have died in service.

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Nick Parsons, who is in his third year of studying Environmental Science, at Dundee’s School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, represented Scotland for the charity’s beach lifeguarding unit.

Along with serving RNLI crew members and lifeguarding representatives from the other geographical areas, Nick took part in the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London, yesterday. 

Having patrolled Dundee and Fife’s beaches for six years in a row, Nick, 21, is one of the longest serving RNLI lifeguards in Scotland.

His role in the ceremony involved carrying and placing the ‘north candle’ to represent Scotland, wearing his lifeguard uniform.

Three youths wearing red lifeguard jackets standing amongst boats parked on a street.

Speeches from key members of the RNLI and Martin Steven, who was rescued by the charity in 1970, also took place during the service.

Nick said, “I felt honoured when I found out I had been chosen. It was really nice to be involved in something like this while remembering all of those who died in service.”

Having grown up in Dundee, Nick has always had a passion for swimming and water sports.

During his time at high school, he was part of Scotland’s national junior water polo team, which led him to pool lifeguarding before taking on the role for the RNLI’s beach patrol team at the age of 16.

He patrols Broughty Ferry beach and both the East and West Sands in St Andrews. 

Lifeguard on a beach, standing at water's edge holding an upright yellow surfboard.

Over the years he has dealt with countless emergencies, including fractures and broken bones, drifting paddleboarders, rescues from water surrounded rocks and other water based recuses.

But he says the problem he deals with most often is missing children when beaches are busy with crowds of visitors.

Talking of his lifeguarding role, Nick said, “I enjoy the feeling of its purpose.

“I’m there to look after the safety of people on the beach and in the water and make sure that people enjoy themselves safely.

“Even when I go to visit a beach and I’m not working, I can’t switch off, I’m always looking around to check that everything’s safe.”

Nick will return to his lifeguarding role this summer, in a more senior position, before continuing into his fourth year of study at the University of Dundee.


Sheanne Mulholland

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 385423