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Nol receiving his RNLI Bravery award

 Interview with the intrepid Nol       

  • Nol, you’re a Dunbar man, born and bred? Aye, I was born in Room #3, The Lothian Hotel.
  • Was your family originally Italian? Yes, from Tuscany, Italy; came in the early-1900s.
  • And school? Left school at fifteen but I’d already been working for my dad in the hotel since the age of ten. Worked all my life and never a dull day, well, maybe one or two
  • And teenage years? Always in the old outdoor swimming pool, whistle round my neck, in charge of the wee boats then later as a lifeguard.
  • Note: "Nol Togneri received the RNLI Bravery award in the 1960s after saving a girl at sea, keeping her afloat until the lifeboat attended to rescue them as they were drifting out to sea. These awards are usually reserved only for RNLI crew, risking their lives at sea."
  • This video shows how Noll developed the skills needed for confidence in the water:-
  • https://www.facebook.com/paul.togneri.1/videos/10206005929422715/UzpfSTE2OTUyMTEyMDc6MTAyMDY5NDQ2NDczMzAwNzY/
  • So the old pool at Bayswell, was really ‘Baywatch’? We all remember those beauty competitions. The pool was packed in summertime.
  • Did you ever go off the high diving-board? Aye, an’ once I broke the springboard on the way doon.
  • You’re always barefoot, why’s that? Do not like wearing shoes!
  • Where did you work after the Lothian Hotel? Oh, every smart hotel, The Marine in Troon, Old Course Hotel, St. Andrews, Caledonian Hotel….
  • So, the start of a 5-star career? Aye, but sometimes catering’s a demanding life.
  • Have you worked overseas? Did an apprenticeship in Paris, in Fouquet's Brasserie, an historic restaurant on the Champs-Élysées. “Une table pour deux, monsieur?”
  • Did you work in catering all your life? No, I worked as a steel erector on the 300ft tower at Blackcastle, Innerwick, logging crew in the Borders, salmon fishing at Goswick, then Eves Taxis and buses.
  • Everyone’s seen you kayaking off and away, or disappearing in your powerboat. Where do you go? Across the bay to the Tyninghame estuary for a few camping nights, or to the Bass Rock. Tyninghame estuary has changed a lot with the sand channel shifting, very tricky now.
  • Where was your furthest kayak trip? May Isle with Doc Ballantyne.
  • She’s a nice motorboat, your “Wildfire”. When and where did you start with boats? Age of 10, first kayak. Father had a speedboat; he started a Waterski Club. Then a 20ft Cabin Cruiser for 30 years, many expeditions with the family. 20 years on the Lifeboat Crew. Is that enough?
  • Your son Paul also uses ‘Wildfire’.  Does he listen to his dad’s safety advice?  Aye, or he’ll get a clip roon his lugs if he disnae.
  • What’s your best advice to youngsters starting in boats? **Safety First** radio, lifejackets, flares, anchor. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Photo 1, Nol receiving his RNLI Bravery award from Princess Margaret. 

Photo 2, Nol dives off the Gripes; not recommended nowadays, even for fit, young men.

Click <<READ MORE>> below for photo 2


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